As the nation’s primary funder of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research, PCORI examines the important questions that patients face and helps create an informed healthcare system. Congressional reauthorization in 2019 broadened this scope, giving PCORI the opportunity to chart a bold new direction as it looks at today’s health and healthcare challenges, including many exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic. To realize this opportunity fully, PCORI is crafting an ambitious strategic roadmap to guide future research funding and related initiatives.
PCORI’s Board of Governors recently launched an essential element of this roadmap: developing a set of National Priorities for Health to guide PCORI’s work. This is not just an update, revision, or refreshing of its current National Priorities for Research but rather a new framework for how PCORI will pursue its mission and measure progress toward advancing that mission and fulfilling its mandates.
Doing this effectively requires building on PCORI’s accomplishments to date and invoking lessons learned about the central importance of patient-centeredness and stakeholder involvement in PCORI's work. All the work to frame PCORI’s future activities are oriented toward ensuring PCORI’s endeavors have the maximum impact for patients and other healthcare stakeholders.
Proposed National Priorities and Goals
PCORI values hearing all perspectives as it sets strategic priorities. To gather input, PCORI’s Board launched a multistep process that starts with seeking public comment (in English and Spanish) on its proposed National Priorities for Health. These five broad goals are designed to provide overarching direction for how PCORI will focus its research funding and related activities:
Increase Evidence for Existing Interventions and Emerging Innovations in Health
Goal: Strengthen and expand ongoing comparative clinical effectiveness research focused on both existing interventions and emerging innovations to improve healthcare practice, health outcomes, and health equity.
Enhance Infrastructure to Accelerate Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
Goal: Enhance the infrastructure that facilitates patient-centered outcomes research to drive lasting improvements in health and transformation of both the research enterprise and care delivery.
Advance the Science of Dissemination, Implementation, and Health Communication
Goal: Advance the scientific evidence for and the practice of dissemination, implementation, and health communication to accelerate the movement of comparative clinical effectiveness research results into practice.
Achieve Health Equity
Goal: Expand stakeholder engagement, research, and dissemination approaches that lead to continued progress toward achieving health equity in the United States.
Accelerate Progress Toward an Integrated Learning Health System
Goal: Foster actionable, timely, place-based, and transformative improvements in patient-centered experiences, care provision, and ultimately improved health outcomes through collaborative, multisectoral research to support a health system that serves the needs and preferences of individuals.
This is not just an update, revision, or refreshing of its current National Priorities for Research but rather a new framework for how PCORI will pursue its mission and measure progress toward advancing that mission and fulfilling its mandates.
PCORI is fully committed in its work to advance health and healthcare equity not only by making it one of the proposed new priorities but incorporating it as a cross-cutting component relevant to all proposed National Priorities for Health as well as PCORI’s future research funding.
After a 60-day comment period, which ends August 27, 2021, PCORI will analyze and incorporate feedback on the proposed National Priorities, and the Board will consider the National Priorities for final approval this fall.
The priorities are ambitious, aspirational, and one part of a larger strategic planning process. Stemming from these priorities is a Research Agenda, which establishes the research framework through which PCORI achieves progress on the National Priorities. The Research Agenda, which articulates and reflects evolving evidence needs of patients, stakeholders, and the broader healthcare system, is expected to be released for public comment later in the fall and finalized in early 2022.
Responding to Stakeholder Needs
PCORI is taking an inclusive approach to its strategic planning. Stakeholder input has been provided through a range of channels, forums, and other interactions over the last few years.
Stakeholder and broad public input are central to ensuring PCORI's National Priorities for Health and corresponding Research Agenda appropriately reflect how PCORI can continue to best meet individual and community health needs in the coming years. Feedback collected from public comments and other input will inform PCORI’s strategy and work.
To that end, PCORI plans a range of opportunities for stakeholders to provide ongoing input in addition to the public comment periods for the proposed National Priorities for Health and Research Agenda. Continual input opportunities include virtual regional forums in the late summer and early fall, PCORI’s 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting in November, and additional web-based and other digital tools to easily allow stakeholders to provide feedback.
Fulfilling PCORI’s Congressional Mandate
Developing National Priorities for Health and a Research Agenda are two ways PCORI is adhering to its authority from Congress. PCORI is also addressing the research topics—intellectual and developmental disabilities and maternal mortality—called out in its reauthorizing law as well as advancing the organization’s expanded authority to consider the full range of patient-centered outcomes in the studies PCORI funds, including the burdens and economic impacts of different healthcare services.
Once finalized, PCORI's National Priorities for Health, Research Agenda, and strategic plan will serve as a bold new roadmap for patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research in the years ahead. They will build on the substantial record of results and impact established during PCORI’s first decade and fully incorporate the important new tasks the reauthorizing law sets out—all while continuing to be guided by ongoing input from PCORI stakeholders.