Quality patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) is key to better health care. Unfortunately, it often takes years for new data to influence patients’ treatment decisions and the practice of medicine. Many researchers have difficulty explaining their findings to reporters, and many journalists give limited attention to research findings that are important to many patients. The studies that get the most attention are often those promoted by companies that want to encourage sales of their products or services.
As PCORI studies are completed, the results could greatly improve medical care. However, their impact will depend on effective dissemination to physicians and patients who will use the information to inform healthcare decisions. The media and medical opinion leaders are crucial to spreading the word.
This project brings together medical writers, journalists, researchers, and medical experts to effectively disseminate findings from PCORI CER studies. Reporters and writers frequently seek the National Center for Health Research’s help to understand research findings, and PCORI-funded researchers have asked the organization to inform the media about their study results. The project team will create a network of journalists and medical writers who are interested in and informed about PCORI research findings, along with a community of PCORI-funded researchers, patient partners, and medical experts who communicate effectively with journalists and writers.
The project’s first aim is to ensure that the media and medical experts understand and give attention to important new PCORI research findings. The second aim is to train PCORI researchers and their patient partners to persuasively communicate their newly released findings to the media. The project’s long-term objective is a network of journalists and other medical writers who will help to widely disseminate the findings of well-designed PCORI CER studies with clear implications for patients and public health.
To accomplish these aims, the project team will:
- Train (via workshops, press teleconferences, conference calls, and webinars) at least 50 journalists and medical writers, 10-15 PCORI researchers, 10-15 patient partners, and eight medical experts to understand PCORI and CER findings and communicate with each other and the public.
- Effectively disseminate findings of 10-15 PCORI CER studies to journalists and medical experts.
- Create a network of journalists and medical writers who will report on patient-centered outcomes research during the project and for years after.
- Create a community of researchers who communicate effectively with the media. The team will also evaluate the project so that others can implement effective dissemination strategies.
This project will have a significant impact by improving researchers’ and experts’ ability to explain CER to the media and by training journalists and medical writers who will continue to cover PCORI CER findings long after the project ends. The team will ensure that important research results are made available to patients and providers, and thus improve patient care.
Stakeholders will serve on the advisory board to plan and implement the project, including PCORI researchers, reporters, patient partners, and experts/opinion leaders. The team will foster engagement of these stakeholders in all phases of the project via the advisory board, workshops, press teleconferences, and conference calls. The team will also help participants build collegial relationships and learn to integrate patient experiences with scientific data to effectively disseminate PCORI findings.