PCORI gets down to work

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK IN HEALTHCARE - Mau­reen Mck­in­ney

The or­ga­ni­za­tion tasked by the govern­ment with de­ter­min­ing which treat­ments and pro­ce­dures work best for which pa­tients has be­gun to make head­way in the year since its in­cep­tion.

Es­tab­lished by the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act as an independent, not­for-profit en­tity, the Pa­tient-cen­tered Out- comes Re­search In­sti­tute con­ducts and pro­motes com­par­a­tive ef­fec­tive­ness re­search.

In a re­cent ar­ti­cle in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine, Dr. Eu­gene Washington and Steven Lip­stein, chair and vice chair of PCORI’S 21-mem­ber board of gov­er­nors, coau­thored an ar­ti­cle out­lin­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s struc­ture and mis­sion, and its work so far, in­clud­ing its first grant fund­ing op­por­tu­nity, a round of pi­lot projects that opens for ap­pli­cants Nov. 1.

“We au­thored the per­spec­tive piece for the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine be­cause we wanted to doc­u­ment for the record and share with all of our stake­hold­ers the his­toric work of cre­at­ing a world-class, pa­tient-cen­tered re­search in­sti­tute from scratch,” Lip­stein said in an e-mail. “We are com­mit­ted to be­ing the most en­gaged health re­search or­ga­ni­za­tion and we take our re­la­tion­ship with stake­hold­ers, es­pe­cially pa­tients and clin­i­cians, very se­ri­ously.”

In the ar­ti­cle, the au­thors high­lighted the range of stake­hold­ers who sit on PCORI’S board. Washington is the vice chan­cel­lor of UCLA Health Sciences and the dean of the David Gef­fen School of Medicine at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Los An­ge­les, while Lip­stein is pres­i­dent and CEO of BJC Health­care, a 13-hos­pi­tal health sys­tem based in St. Louis. The board also in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives from health plans as well as govern­ment of­fi­cials, such as Carolyn Clancy, di­rec­tor of HHS’ Agency for Health­care Re­search and Qual­ity.

In May, the board named Dr. Joe Selby as PCORI’S ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. Selby for­merly served as di­rec­tor of re­search at Kaiser Per­ma­nente, North­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

The board also has be­gun to out­line a re­search agenda made up of pi­lot projects, grants and re­views, the au­thors said. The pi­lot project pro­gram, an­nounced in Septem­ber, will make avail­able $26 mil­lion for pro­pos­als that as­sess “the ben­e­fits and harms of pre­ven­tive, di­ag­nos­tic, ther­a­peu­tic or de­liv­ery-sys­tem in­ter­ven­tions, high­light­ing com­par­isons that peo­ple care about and ex­pe­ri­ence, such as sur­vival, func­tion, symp­toms and health-re­lated qual­ity of life,” they wrote in the ar­ti­cle.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for fund­ing un­der PCORI’S pi­lot-project pro­gram are due Dec. 1, and the awards will be an­nounced next spring. Also, PCORI’S 17-mem­ber method­ol­ogy com­mit­tee is cur­rently re­view­ing re­search meth­ods and stan­dards to see which ap­proaches will work best. The or­ga­ni­za­tion says it plans to “de­ploy a full re­search arse­nal, in­clud­ing ran­dom­ized tri­als, ob­ser­va­tional out­comes stud­ies based in reg­istries or data­bases de­rived pri­mar­ily from clin­i­cal care, and data syn­the­ses.”

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