The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) announced funding awards totaling $123 million to support 15 new research studies. These studies aim to fill evidence gaps, enhance research methods, or improve healthcare decision-making for a range of high-burden concerns among adults and children, including postpartum complications occurring in populations experiencing the greatest disparities in health outcomes.
In addition, PCORI awarded $4 million for two implementation projects intended to accelerate uptake of strategies shown in PCORI-funded studies, one to improve decision-making about colorectal cancer screening as well as one to improve outcomes for patients with asthma.
“These latest awards demonstrate PCORI’s commitment to funding important research addressing evidence gaps on key health issues identified through the ongoing input and guidance of patients and stakeholders, including the persistent and worsening maternal health crisis that is a priority for PCORI,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, M.D., MPH. “The research awards announced today will provide sound evidence to help patients and those who care for them make sense of their many options in a complex healthcare environment. This research also will contribute data and strategies to help achieve health equity, one of PCORI’s National Priorities for Health.”
Six of the newly approved comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies were awarded through targeted PCORI funding opportunities on specific high-priority topics identified and shaped through input from patients and other stakeholders. These include:
· Four studies comparing multicomponent strategies to improve postpartum care and outcomes for groups most often underserved or experiencing the greatest health disparities, such as Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, rural and low-income populations.
· Two studies comparing the effectiveness of approaches to remote blood pressure monitoring that aim to address inequities in blood pressure control, including screenings through community-based organizations and remote monitoring via cell phones.
Other CER studies approved for PCORI funding include:
· A study comparing two interventions shown to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use for ear infections in children;
· A study comparing three strategies, preoperative prehabilitation, postoperative rehabilitation and a combined approach for patients needing stenting for peripheral artery disease;
· A third study assessing approaches to improve shared decision-making and access to non-dialytic treatment for patients with advanced kidney disease;
· Another study comparing approaches to screening for hearing loss among preschool-age children;
· A fifth study assessing ways to increase guideline-recommended health surveillance for children and adults with neurofibromatosis.
In addition, PCORI approved four studies that aim to improve methods for conducting patient-centered CER to ensure this burgeoning field of research generates reliable, trustworthy results. Areas of focus include machine learning, more efficient use of electronic medical records for research, improving trial design and analysis, and the function of secure messaging in health care.
Two newly approved projects are focused on implementing findings of past PCORI-funded research, advancing the organization’s efforts to pursue and refine ways to support uptake of useful evidence in a variety of care settings where it can improve people’s outcomes.
One project will work with two health systems to make an online decision aid about colorectal cancer screening available to patients due for screening. The other project will work with four diverse medical systems to implement a new, patient-activated approach for patients with moderate to severe asthma to improve symptom control, reduce exacerbations and reduce missed days of work or school.
“PCORI funds projects to promote the adoption of useful findings from comparative clinical effectiveness research. These projects help to ensure that research evidence is implemented in clinical practice and has the opportunity to have a salutary impact on patients, clinicians and health systems,” said Harv Feldman, M.D., PCORI’s Deputy Executive Editor for Patient-Centered Research Programs. “Many patients who confront important decisions about health screenings and care for themselves or loved ones with a chronic condition may experience better care and outcomes as a result of PCORI’s latest implementation funding awards.”