PCORI funds research that offers patients and caregivers the information they need to make important healthcare decisions. Our scientific research portfolio is divided among two programs, which together reflect our National Priorities for Research. Each program leads the development of PCORI Funding Announcements that may be either broad calls for applications or targeted to specific topics. These programs also participate in the selection of awards and oversee the projects as they progress.

In addition, the Evaluation and Analysis program provides evaluation expertise, while the Engagement program gives patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders opportunities for meaningful involvement in all our activities.

Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science

When deciding how to address a health problem, patients and those who care for them often need to choose between two or more options. To make the best decision, they must be able to access and use reliable information about the options’ potential benefits and harms. The Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science (CEDS) program seeks to fill clinical information gaps by producing valid, trustworthy, and useful new evidence comparing the effectiveness of different clinical options. This program addresses three of our national priorities: Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options; Communication and Dissemination Research; and Accelerating Patient-Centered Outcomes Research and Methodological Research.

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Dissemination and Implementation

Promoting the uptake of research findings is part of PCORI’s legal mandate to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, clinicians, and others make better-informed health decisions.

PCORI’s release of new evidence begins with posting short, understandable summaries of all research findings soon after a study’s results are final. Our efforts continue with programs and activities to promote awareness of findings from PCORI-funded research (dissemination) and to facilitate the uptake of research findings in practice settings (implementation).

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Bringing together all healthcare stakeholders—with patients at the center—to help set research priorities and evaluate applications is our formula for ensuring we fund and conduct the most relevant research. We believe that inclusion of patients and other stakeholders in the research process, from topic selection through dissemination and implementation of results, will lead to trustworthy and usable information likely to be taken up in practice.

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Evaluation and Analysis

In our effort to function as a learning organization and be effective in reaching our goals, we pursue a wide range of evaluation activities, which are housed in the Evaluation and Analysis (E&A) program. These are organized into a framework, which flows from our strategic and operational plans and incorporates our stakeholders’ perspectives and priorities.

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Healthcare Delivery and Disparities Research

Addressing Disparities and Improving Healthcare Systems are two of PCORI’s five National Priorities for Research. These priorities come together in the Healthcare Delivery and Disparities Research (HDDR) program, which focuses on comparing patient-centered approaches to improve the equitability, effectiveness, and efficiency of care.

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Research Infrastructure

Under the auspices of our Research Infrastructure program, we are creating a national network to foster a wide range of observational and experimental comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies. This network, known as PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, is designed to find a faster, less expensive, more powerful way to conduct CER to improve the nation’s health and health care.

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Posted: September 10, 2014; Updated: March 30, 2021

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