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Comparative Research Institute Agenda Posted for Comment

Blood test (NIH)

National Institutes of Health

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) today released for comment a draft of its research priorities and agenda, which it says will guide future funding announcements. The institute, established by the 2010 Affordable Care Act (health care reform law) to fund comparative effectiveness and related research, is accepting comments on the document through 15 March 2012.

The priorities in the PCORI draft include:

– Comparative assessments of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options
– Improving health care systems
– Communication and dissemination research
– Addressing disparities
– Accelerating patient-centered outcomes research and methodological research

The agenda proposed for comparative assessments of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options covers investigations of clinical options, emphasizing patient preferences and decision-making. Under this part of the agenda, PCORI also proposes research on biological, clinical, social, economic, and geographic factors that may affect patient outcomes.

Proposed studies to improve health care systems, says PCORI, should address ways to improve access to care, receipt of care, coordination of care, self-care, and decision-making. The institute also proposes studies of the use of non-physician health care providers, such as nurses and physician’s assistants, and the impact on patient outcomes. This section proposes as well research on system-level changes affecting all populations, diseases, and health conditions.

PCORI’s agenda for research on communication and dissemination recommends a focus on strategies to improve patient and clinician knowledge about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options, as well as inquiries of methods to increase patient participation in care and decision-making and the impact on health outcomes. The section also includes studies of communication tools that enhance decision-making and achieve desired outcomes, use of electronic data records to support decision-making, and best practices for sharing research results.

To address disparities, the institute proposes research on ways to reduce disparities in health outcomes, as well as benefits and risks of health care options across populations, and strategies to address health care barriers that can affect patient preferences and outcomes.

The proposed agenda for inquiries on accelerating patient-centered outcomes research and methodological research covers ways to improve the quality and usefulness of clinical data in follow-up studies, and methods to combine and analyze clinical data that follow patients over time. PCORI also proposes studies on the use of registries and clinical data networks to support research about patient-centered outcomes, including rare diseases. In addition, this part of the agenda seeks to look at strategies to train researchers and enable patients and caregivers to participate in patient-centered outcomes research.

PCORI plans a meeting to discuss the proposed priorities and agenda on 27 February at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., which will also be available through Webcast and teleconference. Comments can be provided as well through an online survey.

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