The Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards program has awarded $48 million to fund more than 250 projects that build communities ready to engage in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER).
We’re pleased with our program’s accomplishments since its inception in 2014. But as more and more of our funded research projects produce results, it’s critically important that we get those results into the hands of those who need them most. We’re pivoting our Engagement Awards’ focus to reflect this organizational shift.
Disseminating and encouraging the uptake of research findings has always been part of PCORI’s mandate. Our Dissemination and Implementation program already runs multiple initiatives to support this mission. These include a funding mechanism for investigator-initiated implementation of PCORI-funded research results and an initiative to support the implementation of shared decision making approaches.
The Engagement Awards are now placing a greater emphasis on supporting communities and organizations that will help move the results of PCOR into clinical practice, where they can help patients and those who care for them make better-informed healthcare decisions. This shift in emphasis began in June 2017 and now gains momentum with a new type of Engagement Award for dissemination activities.
Our New Award Category: Dissemination Initiatives
This new award category funds initiatives to disseminate PCORI-funded published results and evidence. Projects can be up to two years in duration and receive as much as $300,000 in total costs. This award does not support projects that solely include conferences.
We seek applications from organizations and communities who are trusted sources of information for the people they have relationships with. We hope those groups will propose meaningful dissemination projects to spread awareness and increase knowledge of new evidence from PCORI-funded research. Projects should disseminate results directly to patients, clinicians, and others who can use this information to inform healthcare decisions.
Prospective projects should aim to increase not only the reach of results, but also people’s motivation and ability to use and apply them. We know, for example, that simply presenting information to clinicians, or placing information on a website, is unlikely to change the way people think or behave. Successful applicants will bring expertise and experience in reaching their intended audiences, so that their presentation of new evidence occurs in a way that will move this information toward use in decisions.
Project activities may include developing or tailoring specific mechanisms that will work best to provide patients, clinicians, and others in the healthcare community with useful evidence for the decisions they face. However, projects’ primary focus should be on activities that bring new evidence to people who can use it. Projects must also include evaluation of their dissemination mechanisms.
Successful applications will address:
- The importance of reaching the proposed audience for dissemination
- The applicant’s experience in bringing evidence to the intended audience
- The findings applicants plan to disseminate, and why these findings are relevant
- The potential impact of uptake of these findings
- The strategies the applicant proposes for dissemination, with justification of the choice of strategies
- The proposed strategies’ reach, or the number of people in the audience whose awareness and knowledge of the evidence disseminated will meaningfully increase
- The evaluation metrics for assessing the success of the dissemination strategies
The following may serve as the basis for dissemination activities under this award:
Building on Our Foundation of Engagement in PCOR
Even as our emphasis on dissemination expands, the Engagement Award program is still committed to funding projects that enable organizations to engage patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other stakeholders as partners in research.
We have found that many applicants propose projects that fall outside the scope of the Engagement Awards program. Because we want applicants to be successful, we’d like to clarify that these awards don’t fund
- Projects solely intended to improve patient engagement in healthcare service delivery, patient self-care, or patient-centeredness of care (e.g., shared decision making)
- Research studies (PCORI funds these through other opportunities.)
- Delivery of health care
- Development of registries
- Projects intended to increase the number of patients recruited as participants in research studies or registries
- Development of decision aids or clinical practice guidelines
- Meetings that don’t focus on PCOR or CER
- Development of research proposals
These projects focus on building knowledge and competency of patients and other stakeholders so that they may serve as meaningful partners in all stages of research, from topic selection to dissemination of results. As always, these projects may also fund activities to strengthen researchers’ skills in partnering with patients and other stakeholders.
To reflect our added emphasis on dissemination and implementation, we’ve recategorized the Engagement Awards of this type. Starting with the June 2018 review cycle, we are shifting to offer two new versions of previously existing awards.
Engagement Awards: Capacity Building. This is the original Engagement Award category with a revised name and expanded focus on dissemination and implementation. This award category funds projects to build a community of individuals and organizations that can participate in PCOR or CER, and develop partnerships to disseminate PCORI-funded research results. These awards are for up to $250,000 in total costs and are up to two years in duration.
Engagement Awards: Conference Support. This was previously known as Engagement Award Initiative Notice for Research Meeting and Conference Support. This award category funds conferences, workshops, and other meetings in which individuals explore issues related to PCOR or communicate PCORI-funded research results to audiences that need them. Conference organizers must address the proposed conference activities as part of a strategy for increasing the uptake of findings that could have important impact on clinical practice. The funding amount of $50,000 and duration of one year remain the same.