PCORI gets down to work
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.”