Background: Employers are the main providers of health care for over 180 million people ($4.5B) and have been a primary source of funding for PCORI for the past several years. Historically, employers have not effectively utilized PCORI-funded research findings, and for that matter, other research-focused evidence to make strategic decisions with their healthcare planning. Over the past three years through the PCORI Dissemination Initiative Awards, the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions has been closing this gap through increasing awareness of PCORI and translating various findings for employers. As a result, employers have begun to move away from only relying on recommendations from consultants, vendors, and plans as they move incrementally toward utilizing a more evidence-based approach. The project team believes continuing this work will allow it to capitalize on what the team has accomplished and create a sustainable plan where these processes will become an integral part of research implementation.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: To meet this aim, the project team proposes to advance its dissemination approach to one of integration. To this end, integration means not just “reporting out” on research, but rather starting with agendas important to employers and folding the research into these priorities. The team has already learned that when it incorporates PCORI-funded research dissemination campaigns in this way, the uptake of the findings is greatly improved as compared to simply distributing research findings without these connections. The approach of integration will include leveraging trusted tools and resources, aligning with industry trends and organizational initiatives, deepening partnerships with stakeholders, accelerating engagement activities, scaling up campaigns and developing an effective downstream tracking method and a sustainable way to ensure long-term uptake.
Objectives: The project’s main objectives are to educate and inform healthcare benefits professionals of relevant PCORI-funded research findings, help them shift their current practices and those of their consultants toward a stronger evidence-based approach in their healthcare decision making, and track how this dissemination approach is impacting the health of their workforces regarding patient-centered outcomes.
To achieve these objectives, the project aims to:
- Create a set of standards outlining the dissemination process so this can be utilized in the future to continue this work beyond the timeframe of the proposed award
- Successfully implement five dissemination campaigns during the award cycle including a full evaluation of each
- Track the downstream impact of employer engagement through feedback from the expanded advisory council and other evaluation methods
- Create a roadmap for employers focused on evidence-based healthcare planning
- Provide PCORI with a long-term sustainable solution for integrating research findings into employer stakeholders’ everyday healthcare planning practices
Projected Outcomes and Outputs:
Short-term outcomes collected from dissemination engagement data:
- Survey and webinar registrants’ responses
- Open rates, click-throughs, and users on the PCORI and National Alliance web pages
- Total increased number of employers reached
Medium-term projected outcomes from advisory council engagement:
- Feedback from surveys rating the team’s approach
- Reports on real-time healthcare planning practices comparing their actual needs to the relevance of the project’s materials
- Direct connections to a wider pool of employers
- Downstream tracking data on utilization of dissemination campaigns
Medium-term outcomes posted in the project’s website:
- Action briefs
- Awards reports
- Industry publication articles
This portal has already become an integral asset to employer stakeholders and reflects the important partnership between the National Alliance and PCORI.
Long-term outcomes for sustainability beyond award cycle:
- Set of dissemination guidelines outlining best practices for disseminating research findings to the employer stakeholder
- Evidence-based healthcare practices roadmap to be utilized by employers to help them use research in their healthcare benefits planning
The project’s final outcome objective would be to achieve full integration of evidence-based decision making, where PCORI will become a valuable, trusted, and a highly utilized resource by employers and their partner healthcare industry stakeholders for evidence-based decision making to improve patient-centered outcomes.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The National Alliance network of coalition leaders, staff, and employer members is the primary focus of the Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan. Beyond this network, the team also has strategic healthcare partners including individual experts and influential organizations who are also integral to the team’s engagement approach.
Engagement Plan Strategies include:
- Disseminate PCORI research through vetted communication tools to the employer network, evaluate its effectiveness through direct engagement with employer recipients, and respond to their feedback through ongoing updates to the team’s dissemination methods.
- Partner with healthcare industry stakeholders who have aligned interests to help expand dissemination reach and offer context to the PCORI-funded research being featured.
- Interact with an advisory council comprised of employer workgroups facilitated by the team’s regional coalitions. The primary role of this group is to assist the team in tracking how employers are utilizing the findings and to determine the level of evidence-based decision making being done. The workgroups will consist of primarily HR and healthcare benefits professionals representing mid-sized to large employers. The members will be asked to participate in both surveys and in-person (virtual) discussions over an extended period of time following a specific tracking framework.