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PCORI spends $191 million on two patient-centered projects

By Nicole Freeman

- The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has announced nearly $191 million dollars in research funding. The money, allotted to two large projects, will be spent creating PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, and adding new funding for 53 comparative effectiveness research (CER).

PCORnet will bring together 29 clinical research data networks to create a single, massive health information system of nationally representative material. The networks are run by both health systems and patient communities, allowing a wider range of researcher access. Combining these networks will reduce research time, support CER, and is intended to boost patient-centered studies.

The $93.5 million given to develop PCORnet will be spent over 18 months, funding 11 Clinical Data Research Networks (CDRNs) and systems using data sources like electronic health records (EHRs), and 18 Patient-Powered Research Networks (PPRNs) focused on improving health outcomes. During this time, the awardees will standardize data, create patient privacy and data security procedures, and improve their individual systems with the intent of launching a CER-supporting network.

Integration guidance for the PPRNs and CDRNs will be provided through a Coordinating Center created by Duke Clinical Research Institute and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.

“PCORnet will serve as an important foundation for transforming the nation’s healthcare system into one that is able to constantly learn what works best by facilitating more efficient comparative effectiveness research,” said Rachael Fleurence, PhD, Director of PCORI’s CER Methods and Infrastructure Program. “It also will promote broader participation of patients, clinicians, health systems, and payers in the research process and help connect patients interested in participating in studies with researchers conducting trials.”

PCORI’s second funding announcement, $97.3 million for CER research, will be distributed among 8 studies focusing on uncontrolled asthma in Hispanic/Latino and African American populations. The remaining 45 studies seek to improve care for chronic pain, obesity, mental health disorders, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases to provide more information for patients and families to make better care-related decisions.

PCORI began funding patient-centered outcomes research in 2012, and has spent $464.4 million dollars on 279 projects since. Selected projects were reviewed by caregivers, patients, and other stakeholders, to assess scientific merit and the patient engagement level. Awards are given after completing a PCORI staff business review and award contract.

“We are very pleased to add this latest round of projects to our growing portfolio of patient-centered comparative effectiveness research, which will contribute much-needed insights about the benefits and risks of a range of medical interventions and approaches to healthcare delivery,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “Each project will engage patients and other stakeholders in meaningful ways with researchers to tackle critical health problems. We look forward to following and learning from the studies’ progress.”

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