PCORI Board Approves $114 Million for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors recently approved 71 awards, totaling more than $114 million over 3 years, to fund comparative clinical effectiveness research designed to answer questions most important to patients and those who care for them. The awards include the first 19 under the priority area of Accelerating Patient Centered Outcomes Research and Methodological Research.

National Priorities for Research

With these latest awards, made under PCORI’s five National Priorities for Research, the institute has approved more than $303 million since 2012 to support patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research to date and is on track to commit more than $400 million in research support in 2013.

The awards, approved during a special Board webinar/teleconference, include studies of ways to improve care for and the health of people with several types of cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, autism, respiratory disorders, and various mental health conditions. Several projects will explore ways to support patient and family caregiver decision-making, reduce health disparities, and improve healthcare delivery systems.

The first group of studies selected to improve research methods include efforts to improve the applicability of data collected through new sources, such as electronic health records and social media sites for clinical research; methods to engage minority patients and caregivers as active partners in patient-centered health research; and ways to improve the existing methods for studies with few outcome events, such as treatments for rare diseases and newly marketed therapies.

Thorough Review and Formal Contract

All 71 projects were approved by the Board pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and completion of a formal award contract.

“These studies were selected from among hundreds of applications for their scientific rigor and their potential to fill important information gaps and help patients and their caregivers make more informed decisions about their care,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH.

“Each of these projects will engage patients and other stakeholders in meaningful ways with researchers to tackle critical health problems that affect tens of millions of people nationwide,” Dr. Selby said. “We are confident these studies will lead to meaningful improvement in the quality and efficiency of care and to improvements in outcomes that are important to patients.”

Fifty-two of the newly approved awards are part of PCORI’s third cycle of funding announcements made under the first four of its national research priorities and were selected from among more than 440 applications. The other 19 projects were selected from among 133 applications submitted under PCORI’s inaugural call for proposals focused on improving methods.

Competitive Review Process

To select projects for funding, PCORI relies on a competitive review process in which scientists, patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders help to evaluate proposals on the basis of scientific merit, how well they engage patients and other stakeholders, their methodological rigor, and how well they fit within PCORI’s national research priorities.

The newly approved awards will go to 48 institutions in 20 states and Washington, D.C. With this latest round of funding, PCORI has approved support for a total of 197 projects at institutions in 35 states and Washington, D.C.

PCORI’s funding announcements consist of three annual cycles and seek proposals for research that will provide patients and those who care for them with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health decisions.  In addition to the 19 awards under PCORI’s methods priority, 24 projects address the priority area of Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options; 13 respond to Improving Healthcare Systems; nine to Addressing Disparities; and six to Communication and Dissemination Research.

National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network

In addition to the latest research projects approved for funding, PCORI’s Board also approved a $9 million contract to a consortium led by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute to serve as the Coordinating Center for a new national data network being developed through PCORI. The proposed new National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network is intended to improve the nation’s capacity to conduct comparative effectiveness research efficiently and learn from the health-care experiences of millions of Americans by creating a large network of health data representative of patients from across the country.

Details on the approved awards, including the project name, principal investigator, research institution, and abstract, are provided on the PCORI website ( ■