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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS.




This notice announces the intention of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve the proposed information collection project: “Questionnaire and Data Collection Testing, Evaluation, and Research for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.” In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520, AHRQ invites the public to comment on this proposed information collection.

This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on January 12th, 2011 and allowed 60 days for public comment. One comment was received. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment.


Comments on this notice must be received by April 25, 2011.


Written comments should be submitted to: AHRQ's OMB Desk Officer by fax at (202) 395-6974 (attention: AHRQ's desk officer) or by e-mail at (attention: AHRQ's desk officer).

Copies of the proposed collection plans, data collection instruments, and specific details on the estimated burden can be obtained from the AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer.

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Doris Lefkowitz, AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer, (301) 427-1477, or by e-mail at

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Proposed Project

Questionnaire and Data Collection Testing, Evaluation, and Research for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) requests that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) re-approve generic pre-testing clearance 0935-0124 for three years to facilitate AHRQ's efforts to (1) Employ evaluation-type methods and techniques to improve AHRQ's current data collection and estimation procedures, (2) develop new collections and procedures, including toolkits, and (3) revise existing collections and procedures. AHRQ uses techniques to simplify data collection and estimation procedures, reduce respondent burden, and improve efficiencies to meet the needs of individuals and small business respondents who may have reduced budgets and staff. AHRQ believes that developing, testing, and evaluating data collection and estimation procedures using survey methods and other techniques in anticipation of agency-sponsored studies can improve its information collection efforts and the products it develops and allow AHRQ to be more responsive to fast-changing developments in the healthcare research field.

This clearance request is limited to research on data collection, toolkit development, and estimation procedures and reports and does not extend to the collection of data for public release or policy formation. The current clearance was granted on April 3rd, 2008 and expires on April 30th, 2011.

This generic clearance will allow AHRQ to draft and test toolkits, survey instruments and other data collection and estimation procedures more quickly and with greater lead time, thereby managing project time more efficiently and improving the quality of the data AHRQ collects. In some instances, the ability to test and evaluate toolkits, data collection and estimation procedures in anticipation of work or early in a project may result in the decision not to proceed with additional activities, thereby saving both public and private resources and effectively eliminating respondent burden.

Many of the tools AHRQ develops are made available to the private sector to assist in improving health care quality. The health and health care environment changes rapidly and requires a quick response from AHRQ to provide refined tools. This generic clearance will facilitate AHRQ's response to this changing environment.

These preliminary research activities will not be used by AHRQ to regulate or sanction its customers. They will be entirely voluntary and the confidentiality of respondents and their responses will be preserved. Proposed information collections submitted under this generic clearance will be reviewed and acted upon by OMB within 14 days of submission to OMB.

Method of Collection

The information collected through preliminary research activities will be used by AHRQ to employ techniques to (1) Improve AHRQ' s current data collection and estimation procedures, (2) develop new collections and procedures, including toolkits, and (3) revise existing collections and procedures in anticipation or in response to changes in the health or health care field. The end result will be improvement in AHRQ's data collections and procedures and the quality of data collected, a reduction or minimization of respondent burden, increased agency efficiency, and improved responsiveness to the public.

Estimated Annual Respondent Burden

Exhibit 1 shows the estimated burden hours, over the full 3 years of this clearance, for the respondents' time to participate in the research activities that may be conducted under this generic clearance. Mail surveys will be conducted with about 6,000 persons (2,000 per year for 3 years) and are estimated to average 20 minutes. Mail surveys may also be sent to respondents Start Printed Page 16779via e-mail, and may include a telephone non-response follow-up. Telephone non-response follow-up for mailed surveys is not counted as a telephone survey in Exhibit 1. Not more than 600 persons, over 3 years, will participate in telephone surveys that will take about 40 minutes. Web-based surveys will be conducted with no more than 3,000 persons and will require no more than 10 minutes to complete. About 1,500 persons will participate in focus groups which may last up to two hours, while in-person interviews will be conducted with 600 persons and will take about 1 hour. Automated data collection will be conducted for about 1,500 persons and could take up to 1 hour. Cognitive testing will be conducted with about 600 persons and is estimated to take 1/2; hours to complete. The total burden over 3 years is estimated to be 8,900 hours (about 2,967 hours per year).

Exhibit 2 shows the estimated cost burden over 3 years, based on the respondent's time to participate in these research activities. The total cost burden is estimated to be $298,239.

Exhibit 1—Estimated Burden Hours Over 3 Years

Type of information collectionNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentHours per responseTotal burden hours
Mail/e-mail *6,000120/602,000
Focus Groups1,50012.03,000
Automated **1,50011.01,500
Cognitive Testing ***60011.5900
* May include telephone non-response follow-up in which case the burden will not change.
** May include testing of database software, CAPI software or other automated technologies.
*** May include cognitive interviews for questionnaire or toolkit development, or “think aloud” testing of prototype Web sites.

Exhibit 2—Estimated Cost Burden Over 3 Years

Type of information collectionNumber of respondentsTotal burden hoursAverage wage rate *Total cost burden
Focus Groups1,5003,00033.51100,530
Cognitive Testing60090033.5130,159
* Based upon the average wages for 29-000 (Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations), “National Compensation Survey: Occupational Wages in the United States, May 2009,” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Estimated Annual Costs to the Federal Government

Information collections conducted under this generic clearance will in some cases be carried out under contract. Assuming four data collections per year (either mail/e-mail, telephone, Web-based or in-person) at an average cost of $150,000 each, and two focus groups, automated data collections or lab experiments at an average cost of $20,000 each, total contract costs could be $640,000 per year.

Request for Comments

In accordance with the above-cited Paperwork Reduction Act legislation, comments on AHRQ's information collection are requested with regard to any of the following: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of AHRQ healthcare research and healthcare information dissemination functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of AHRQ's estimate of burden (including hours and costs) of the proposed collection(s) of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information upon the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and included in the Agency's subsequent request for OMB approval of the proposed information collection. All comments will become a matter of public record.

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Dated: March 15, 2011.

Carolyn M. Clancy,


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[FR Doc. 2011-6855 Filed 3-24-11; 8:45 am]