[originally published January 18—updated January 23]
This afternoon, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute released the Draft National Priorities and Research Agenda to shape its portfolio of funded research, which is estimated to be above $150 million this year alone. These priorities and agenda will be open on January 23 for public comment and will remain open through mid-March. I encourage members of AcademyHealth to speak up and send in comments! We will also be commenting formally on behalf of the field. As stated in the Affordable Care Act, PCORI is tasked with identifying research priorities for a variety of areas—including gaps in evidence, practice variations and health disparities—and establishing a research project agenda to address these priorities. The draft priority areas released today are:
  1. Comparative Clinical Effectiveness
  2. Improving Healthcare Systems
  3. Communication and Dissemination
  4. Fairness/Attention to Disparities
  5. Accelerating Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
PCORI has constructed a set of priorities built upon previous prioritization efforts (such as those developed by the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Comparative Effectiveness Research Prioritization, of which I was a member). Each of the five priorities put forward by PCORI embody complex conceptual, methodological, and application challenges, and focus on how (rather than what) research is conducted. As such, they are likely to be of immense interest to our members and the health services research community writ large. Today’s presentation outlined the process by which PCORI developed these priorities and the agenda, and the steps they have taken, and will take, to engage patients as partners. In my view, PCORI’s decision to develop and issue the National Priorities and the Research Agenda in tandem, rather than sequentially, is instructive and lends greater clarity to the intent of each stated priority. This is particularly helpful because the priorities as written are quite broad. I also think that it was wise on their part to NOT name specific conditions or diseases as priorities, allowing the applicants the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of their chosen clinical issue and the responsiveness of their proposed research question and methods. The research priorities and agenda as proposed by PCORI are promising and exciting! I am looking forward to the public discourse over the coming months and am quite sure it will be rich, diverse and not without controversy. I hope many of you engage in this conversation, as PCORI could eventually become one of the largest funders of our field. As the premier organization for the researchers and policy professionals who will conduct and use this research, AcademyHealth is particularly interested in your feedback.
  • Do you think these are the right priorities and agenda items for patient-centered outcomes research?
  • Are they framed clearly and correctly?
  • Do the priorities do enough to build on the knowledge in the field and inspire innovative applications?
  • Does the methods priority sufficiently address building the research infrastructure, and addressing data governance issues?
  • What more could be done to improve the priorities and agenda?
It is critically important that PCORI hears directly from you on the value of investigating these priorities and agenda items. PCORI needs your perspective on producing rigorous and timely evidence, as well as your views on using research to improve health and health care. Submit your comments on these draft documents to PCORI online and/or tell us what you think in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you! This post was written by AcademyHealth President and CEO Lisa Simpson.