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PCORI’s mandate is to improve the quality and relevance of evidence that can help patients, caregivers, clinicians and others make better-informed health or healthcare decisions. 

Our Evidence Updates are one way we work to be sure that findings from PCORI-funded research are accessible and available to support their decisions.  

What Are Evidence Updates?

Evidence Updates capture the highlights and context of new findings from systematic reviews and PCORI-funded comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) in a format that is easy to understand and digest.   

Created and disseminated in collaboration with patient and clinician stakeholder organizations, most Updates are available in two versions:

  • One customized for patients and caregivers
  • One customized for clinicians and other healthcare professionals

Evidence Updates Cover a Broad Range of Conditions

Since their introduction in 2018, the Evidence Updates have covered a range of health topics uniquely affecting children, adults, women and men, including asthma, cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and posttraumatic stress disorder, to name a few. 

The most recent Update looked at how well certain treatments help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) feel less fatigue. Fatigue can make it difficult for people with MS to do their jobs, engage in activities with their families or take part in hobbies they enjoy. Some people take medication to help reduce their fatigue, while others choose options such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Findings from two PCORI-funded CER studies were highlighted as part of this Update.

In the first PCORI-funded CER study, three medications that people with MS have used to treat fatigue, plus a placebo—a pill with no active ingredients—were compared. 

Results showed: 

  • Patients who took one of the three medications in the trial reported some improvements in fatigue and quality of life, but not more than when they took the placebo. 
  • More patients also reported side effects when taking one of the medicines than when taking the placebo.

In the second PCORI-funded CER study, another variation of treatment options was compared:

  • A medication used to help people with certain sleep disorders stay awake
  • CBT
  • CBT plus the medication 

Results showed:

  • All three treatments helped patients feel less fatigue and worked about the same. 
  • More patients who took the medicine alone or with CBT had side effects than did patients who received CBT alone.

A different Update on managing type 2 diabetes shares evidence from a PCORI-funded CER study that found that people with type 2 diabetes who don’t use insulin did not benefit from daily self-testing. 

Another on reducing the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation reports on a review of research that found some newer anticoagulants—which keep blood from clotting—do better at reducing the risk of stroke, and some also reduce the risk of serious bleeding compared to traditional therapies. 

Further, an Evidence Update on treating urinary incontinence highlights findings showing several effective nonsurgical options to treat the condition.

Involving the communities that will use and benefit from Evidence Updates is a critical element in developing and sharing them.

Stakeholder Input and Collaboration Are Key

Involving the communities that will use and benefit from Evidence Updates is a critical element in developing and sharing them. We conduct interviews with key stakeholder organizations to explore reactions from the field and gauge the degree of interest in disseminating findings from PCORI-funded CER studies. These groups participate in the review of the Updates, often cobrand the Evidence Updates and lead targeted dissemination activities, lending their credibility with the people in their communities to aid efforts to get results to patients and others. 

From blog posts and social media to webinars and conference sessions, we have seen collaborators employ a range of creative tactics to disseminate Evidence Updates. Stakeholders also take advantage of journal and magazine articles, e-newsletters, websites, and infographics to get Updates and the information they contain to the people that can use them.

PCORI encourages teams that collaborate with us on Evidence Updates—as well as other interested stakeholder organizations—to pursue a Dissemination Engagement Award as a potential next step in their dissemination efforts. These awards present an opportunity for teams that have previously collaborated with us to increase the scale of their work with larger, more structured projects.

Talk With PCORI About Sharing Evidence Updates

PCORI staff very much appreciate the opportunity to speak with individuals and organizations that can help get impactful findings into the hands of people who need them. If you are interested in working with PCORI to disseminate our Evidence Updates, email us at [email protected] to discuss joining our efforts.

What's Happening at PCORI?

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute sends weekly emails about opportunities to apply for funding, newly funded research studies and engagement projects, results of our funded research, webinars, and other new information posted on our site.

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