Joining the panel has afforded me the opportunity to draw on my experience so that I may give back to the community and work to improve the healthcare system, which I believe represents the most important challenge facing American society today. My PCORI Advisory Panel has reviewed and prioritized 83 potential research topics, of which the PCORI Board of Governors selected three to be listed as Targeted Funding Announcements and 12 more to be included as priority topics in Pragmatic Clinical Studies Funding Announcements.
To date, of the research topics reviewed by the panel I was on, 14 studies have received more than $150 million to support comparative clinical effectiveness research.
Representing Purchasers, Serving All Stakeholders
Panel members feel a strong obligation to serve all constituencies. But we are individually selected to represent one of nine stakeholder groups. The diversity of panelists’ perspectives ensured that we focused on research topics that will respond the needs of patients, address meaningful clinical questions, and be suitable for comparative clinical effectiveness research.
Employers, as purchasers of health benefits, are one of PCORI’s stakeholder communities. My role was to serve as my panel’s sole representative of the purchasers of health care for groups, such as employees and their families.
Over the past few years, I have overseen health and wellness benefits for several large US companies, collectively covering more than 300,000 employees and their families. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation Study, in 2016 more than half of all insured Americans had insurance through employer-sponsored health plans—that’s 156 million people. As a result, it’s vitally important that the employer perspective continue to be represented on PCORI Advisory Panels.
Joining the panel has afforded me the opportunity to draw on my experience so that I may give back to the community and work to improve the healthcare system.
Research to Benefit the American Workforce
My focus as a panelist was on research that would benefit American workers and improve the productivity of the workforce. In some cases, this research directly addressed diseases or conditions that affected the working population; in other cases, my focus was on improving care for other covered groups—employees’ spouses and children. My other areas of concern included new treatments that posed a financial risk to employer plans, or advances that could be integrated with existing health and wellness programs.
It has been an honor to serve as a member of the panel. It has given me an opportunity to learn more about the healthcare system, the way in which it serves patients, and ways to improve outcomes by placing patients at the center of the research process. I have been fortunate to work side by side with an incredible array of talented and dedicated experts in a variety of areas. A quick look at the biographies of current and former panel members reveals well-respected industry experts, highly skilled clinicians and researchers, and compassionate advocates for patients and caregivers. Panel members represent some of the most distinguished institutions in health care.
PCORI’s financial investment in research is high, but the human stakes are higher. The panel has kept patients at the center of the discussion.
PCORI’s financial investment in research is high, but the human stakes are higher. The panel has kept patients at the center of the discussion and considered a vast array of potential research questions, ranging from comparing radiation therapies for breast cancer to weighing treatment options for chronic migraines to comparing medications for pediatric Crohn’s disease. As a result, the panel has contributed to a more informed and thoughtful process of funding critical patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research. I look forward to the results of this research.
The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of PCORI.