Introducing new, much-needed perspectives into the nation’s healthcare research enterprise takes teamwork. We at PCORI routinely partner with patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders in all our activities; those communities’ input into our processes helps us fund more-relevant research. Through collaborations with other organizations and funders, we also have funded research we wouldn’t have been able to support alone and encouraged others to fund and conduct research that is more patient-centered and meaningfully engages patients and other stakeholders.
We have established valuable partnerships with a number of collaborators, including government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and foundations, including the John A. Hartford Foundation. We see these collaborations as a vital component of our future work and are very interested in exploring new and innovative partnerships with both public and private organizations.
Collaborations have many advantages. They can increase the scientific quality of funded research and extend the impact of funding dollars. They allow partnering organizations to leverage their own expertise, as well as their financial and human resources, to accomplish projects neither partner could pursue alone.
Our authorizing legislation encourages us to seek collaborative partnerships that can advance our work, as well as broaden and expand the number of organizations engaged in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). Influencing clinical and healthcare research funded by others to be more patient-centered is one of PCORI’s overarching goals. We recognize collaboration as a primary strategy to achieve that goal.
Principles of Collaboration
PCORI’s Research Transformation Committee developed the principles for collaborations, partnerships, and co-funding that the Board approved at its November 18 meeting. That committee is one of three strategy committees, composed of members of the Board and representatives from the PCORI Methodology Committee.
According to the newly adopted principles, all collaborations that PCORI enters should:
- Represent opportunities to combine the expertise and resources of PCORI with those of an external entity in order to maximize the impact of all PCORI investments and their contributions to improving health decision making and outcomes
- Embody and promote PCORI’s unique approach to research
- Meet all applicable requirements and parameters of PCORI’s relevant statutory requirements (e.g., adherence to PCORI’s Methodology Standards)
- Preserve PCORI’s ability to impact decisions at key points in the research initiative or project
- Be entered into with the collaborating entity most appropriate for the specific tasks and that has the requisite capacity, a record of success, and expertise for the project
- Adhere to PCORI’s standards for communication, dissemination, acknowledgement, and attribution
Types of Collaborative Arrangements
We envision that PCORI collaborations may take different forms, depending on the project and the partner. Among those that we have pursued, and will continue to pursue, are:
- Co-funding for research that will benefit from combining the scientific expertise of PCORI and that of the other organizations, enabling critical research that would be unlikely to be conducted by either organization on its own. Contributions from either side may include direct funding, staff, or both. Current examples include:
- Randomized Trial of a Multifactorial Fall Injury Prevention Strategy (National Institute on Aging)
- Comparing Options for Management: Patient-Centered Results for Uterine Fibroids (AHRQ)
- Pilot Project on Coordination of Care for Frail Elderly (John A. Hartford Foundation)
- Contracting for management of some or all aspects of a PCORI-funded research initiative when the collaboration for will maximize our stewardship of funding and resources. Current examples include:
- PCORnet Coordinating Center (Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Duke Clinical Research Institute)
- Pilot Project Merit Review Process (NIH)
- Staff detail in instances where staff from other entities can bring specialized expertise to PCORI and provide an opportunity for our staff to train and collaborate in new areas. Currently, we have no collaborations of this type.
We look forward to beneficial collaborations as we move forward in funding and disseminating comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) that results in better-informed health and healthcare decisions, improved care, and better outcomes. Please contact us if your organization is interested in a collaboration to promote patient-centered CER, and let us know if there are organizations you would suggest as valuable partners for PCORI in meeting our challenge.
Selby is PCORI’s Executive Director
Lewis-Hall is Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Pfizer Inc., and a member of PCORI’s Board of Governors and chair of the PCORI Research Transformation Committee
Rader is the Program Associate in PCORI’s Office of the Executive Director