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PCORI Approves $114M in Research Awards

September 17, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors has approved 71 awards, totaling more than $114 million over three 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. The awards, approved during a special Board webinar/teleconference, include studies of ways to improve care for and the health of people with heart disease, chronic pain, several types of cancer, 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 (EHRs) 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.

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. 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.

“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,” PCORI executive director Joe Selby, M.D., said in a statement.“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. 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.”

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 clinical effectiveness research efficiently and learn from the healthcare experiences of millions of Americans by creating a large network of health data representative of patients from across the country.

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