The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is a private nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to fund research that helps people make informed healthcare decisions and improves healthcare delivery and outcomes. It does so by producing and promoting high-integrity, evidence-based information that comes from research guided by patients, caregivers, and the broader healthcare community.
When confronting a significant health care issue, patients, their families, and their clinicians can face an array of complex, sometimes-confusing choices about possible treatment options. They need trustworthy, useful information to decide which choice might work best in their situation.
Unfortunately, traditional health research, for all the remarkable advances it produces, hasn’t been able to answer many of the questions patients and their clinicians face daily. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., was authorized by Congress in 2010 to address that problem.
PCORI’s mandate is to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, clinicians, employers, insurers, and policy makers make better-informed health decisions. PCORI does this by funding comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that assess which of several available prevention, diagnosis, or treatment approaches works best for whom, considering outcomes that matter to patients.
What makes PCORI unique is its commitment to ensuring meaningful involvement by patients, caregivers, clinicians and other health care stakeholders throughout the research process—from selecting the topics to study through designing and conducting the research itself and disseminating results. PCORI takes this approach so that the resulting evidence addresses stakeholders’ most important questions and concerns.
“By involving stakeholders from the start, PCORI believes the projects we fund will focus on the right questions, use the right methods, and produce results that are more useful than traditional research findings, and so more likely to be taken up in practice,” says PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, M.D., MPH. “And we’re starting to see the benefits of this approach in the growing number of PCORI-funded studies reporting important results in the medical literature.”
To date, PCORI has approved nearly $2 billion in funding for more than 600 patient-centered CER studies and related projects to enhance the methods and infrastructure that support such research. PCORI pays particular attention to conditions that impose a heavy burden on individuals, their families, and the healthcare system as a whole, including chronic and rare or understudied conditions.
PCORI also provides awards to encourage engagement of patients and other health care stakeholders in the research process, helping to build a broad community that can support PCORI’s work and help ensure that clinical research and the health care system overall can become more patient-centered and effective.
“This is one of the many reasons that PCORI is proud to be a member of Research!America,” Selby says. “We fully share Research!America’s core commitment to improving health by supporting a high-quality research enterprise and raising awareness of the importance of scientifically rigorous research.”
For more information, visit www.pcori.org.