Network to Explore Impacts of Policies, Care Approaches on Diabetes Outcomes
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 29, 2016) — The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to launch a new research network focused on diabetes.
The five-year initiative, dubbed the Natural Experiments Network, will address the impact of population-targeted health policies and interventions on risks, complications and disparities related to diabetes. The network’s findings could inform the efforts of policy makers, health plan directors and community leaders to prioritize policies and practices to support the treatment of diabetes and its complications, and the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.
CDC and NIDDK issued grants for the first-year totaling $2.5 million to support five research groups’ participation in the Natural Experiments Network.
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, PCORI’s Board of Governors, approved a separate investment of $6.75 million over five years to support three research groups’ participation in the network. The funding awards were approved to three of the Clinical Data Research Networks (CDRNs) that are members of PCORnet, a national resource for conducting patient-centered clinical research being developed by PCORI.
“PCORI is delighted to work with the CDC and NIH to expand the capacity of this exciting initiative,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “The PCORnet partner networks’ participation will give them opportunities to support natural experiments with their extensive data resources, and, in turn, those networks’ participation will extend the principles of patient-centeredness and engagement to the Natural Experiments Network’s research activities.”
Complementary to traditional trials and research efforts, natural experiments offer a means to assess the impact of large-scale, population-targeted health policies and interventions. Reducing the incidence of Type 2 diabetes and complications for all people with diabetes will depend on population-targeted health policies to alter health systems, communities, and individual behaviors in ways that promote healthy activities and choices. Despite many innovative policies that have been implemented, there has been little rigorous empirical examination of their health impacts.
Unlike studies in which researchers control the participants’ conditions or circumstances, natural experiments assess the impact of what occurs when groups of people experience different conditions or circumstances as a result of changes in policy or practice, such as investments in healthcare services or the introduction of programs designed to promote physical activity.
“We are pleased to work with PCORI and NIH to identify critical evidence that will help our nation prioritize population-targeted strategies for diabetes treatment and management, and the prevention of Type 2 and diabetes complications,” said Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation. “Diabetes continues to affect more than 29 million people in the United States, putting them at risk for heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and more. It’s our hope that the outcomes of this project can be used to strengthen the impact of public health initiatives and reduce the burden of diabetes in the U.S.”
“What we learn from research evaluating the real-world implementation of healthcare policies or programs has the potential to improve future clinical practice and health policy related to prevention or management of type 2 diabetes and to reduce diabetic complications for all people with the disease,” said Judith Fradkin, MD, director of the NIDDK Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases.
Research Groups Participating in the Natural Experiments Network
The funding approved by PCORI’s Board will enable research teams affiliated with three PCORnet CDRNs -- the PaTH Network, the New York City CDRN, and Research Action for Health Network (REACHnet) -- to participate in the Natural Experiments Network.
CDC and NIH funding supports the participation of five research groups, some of which are also affiliated with PCORnet CDRNs. One group will use the data resources of the Accelerating Data Value Across a National Community Health Center Network (ADVANCE) CDRN, and another will draw upon the resources of the Chicago Area Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Network (CAPriCORN) and the Greater Plains Collaborative CDRN. In addition, CDC/NIH funds support research teams from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). UCLA also received a separate grant from CDC/NIH to serve as the Natural Experiments Network’s central coordinating center.
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.
PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, is an innovative initiative of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The goal of PCORnet is to improve the nation’s capacity to conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research efficiently by creating a large, highly representative network for conducting clinical outcomes research that directly involves patients in the development and execution of the research. More information is available at www.pcornet.org.