WASHINGTON, DC—As its 2021 Annual Meeting takes place this week, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, M.D., M.P.H., published a piece in Health Affairs that considers lessons learned from the pandemic to advance clinical research, health care delivery, public health and policy more broadly, and PCORI’s leading role in these efforts.

In the piece, which is part of an Innovation and Value Initiative-sponsored series exploring the future of value assessment in a post-pandemic U.S., Cook asserts an “essential lesson is that patients—their needs, their individual circumstances, and the outcomes that matter most to them—must help drive the calculus that policymakers apply to this task. Patients, clinicians and others across the health care community seek options or regularly make choices about care but often lack the relevant clinical data needed to determine which treatment best meets their needs.”

Cook also highlights the vital importance of providing people with information they can trust: “The need for better evidence that PCORI was established to address is even more important in a world of seemingly endless health information sources, not all of the highest quality. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that misinformation about clinically effective interventions can undermine effective decision making, lead to an overloaded health care system, and, at worst, be fatal.”

In the context of PCORI’s recently adopted National Priorities for Health and PCORI’s new authority to explore the potential cost burdens and economic impacts health care utilization has on different stakeholders and decision makers, Cook summarizes how this new era of health research will benefit patients and the entire system:

“PCORI’s record of generating a portfolio of authoritative, stakeholder-guided, patient-centered [comparative clinical effectiveness research] data gives PCORI unique standing to implement the enhanced authority Congress has provided to explore the burdens and economic impacts of clinical care and care delivery options. The result will be a research agenda and a growing body of evidence to inform health and health care decision making and address concerns about rising health care costs and patient-centered value. This will directly benefit patients, their families, and the healthcare system. The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the critical need for reliable information that patients and those who care for them can use to navigate a complex health care landscape. PCORI looks forward to doing its part to empower these decision makers.” 

Read the full Health Affairs blog here.


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is the nation’s leading funder of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER). By comparing two or more health or healthcare approaches, CER generates evidence that helps people make better-informed decisions and improves healthcare delivery and outcomes. PCORI takes a holistic approach to its work, ensuring that patients and other health decision makers are engaged as partners throughout the research process, supporting dissemination and implementation of results in practice and strengthening clinical research infrastructure to advance patient-centered CER. PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress.

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