Government Relations Update

PCORI seeks health care stakeholders to help refine its research agenda

Psychologists can apply to participate in planning workshops.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has announced three workshops to be held in Washington, D.C. in October and December, 2012, aimed at refining the institute’s research agenda.  PCORI, an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress, was established in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.  

The first of the three workshops, to be held on Oct. 27-28, is designed to bring together consumers, patients, caregivers, advocacy groups, researchers and other stakeholders in an effort to start building a patient-centered research community, to identify models of patient engagement in research and to begin identifying research topics that will improve patient care and outcomes. 

The second workshop on Dec. 4 will bring together a broad range of healthcare stakeholders to share and discuss important future topics of patient-centered outcomes research. Participants will engage in interactive small-group sessions to solicit their ideas for research in a variety of topic areas, including assessment of screening, diagnosis and treatment options; clinical trials; improving health care systems; addressing disparities; communications and dissemination research and rare diseases. 

The third workshop on Dec. 5 will focus on developing a methodology for prioritizing specific research topics.

The American Psychological Association (APA) encourages psychologists to learn more about the workshops on the PCORI website and to indicate their interest in participating by completing forms online, available for the first and second workshops. (The deadline to indicate interest in the first workshop is Sept. 24.) PCORI will later extend formal invitations to potential attendees, and the institute is prepared to support travel and related expenses for invited attendees.  A free, interactive webcast of the workshops will be open to the public.

This past June, PCORI made 50 Pilot Projects Program awards totaling $30 million over two years, designed to address a broad range of questions about methods for engaging patients in the health research and dissemination process. A breakdown of awards by condition category (PDF, 467KB) (slide 9) shows that mental health was the second most highly represented category after chronic conditions. Five of the primary investigators to receive funding are psychologists: Katherine Bevans (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia [CHOP], “Development of Methods for Identifying Child and Parent Health Outcomes”), Lynn DeBar (Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, “Effects of a Patient Driven Assessment Process with Complex Pain Patients [PDAP]”), Dominick Frosch (Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, “Creating a Zone of Openness to Increase Patient-Centered Care”), Lynne Gauthier (The Ohio State University, “A Low-Cost Virtual Reality Gaming Platform for Neurorehabilitation of Hemiparesis”), and Paul Pilkonis (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “Evaluating PROMIS Instruments and Methods for PCOR: Substance Use Treatment”).

Recently, PCORI opened its second application cycle for funding announcements to support $96 million in primary research. The announcements correspond to the first four areas of focus in PCORI’s National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda: assessment of prevention, diagnosis and treatment options; improving healthcare systems; communication and dissemination and addressing disparities. Letters of intent for this funding cycle are due on October 15 and the application deadline is December 17. Additional funding announcements that address the fifth area of focus, “accelerating patient-centered and methodological research,” are expected to be issued beginning this fall.

APA encourages psychologists who are attending any of PCORI’s workshops to contact Christine Jamieson of the APA Science Directorate’s Government Relations Office to learn more about PCORI and APA’s previous work with the institute.