Background: Employer-focused healthcare innovation companies play a critical role in moving our health system forward, but they rarely have the funding to study their concepts through unbiased patient-centered outcomes research and comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER) processes and PCOR/CER investigators are not typically aware of healthcare innovations that are already in the marketplace as potential concepts to be studied through their lens. Addressing this gap is key for shortening the time that it takes in moving critical healthcare research into practical application to keep up with the rapid pace of our changing healthcare demands.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: This project will develop and implement the Healthcare Innovator Incubator Program (HIIP), which invites innovators who already have their solutions in the marketplace through employer channels to go through a training program that will teach them about incorporating key PCOR/CER measures including quality of life, mental health, social risk factors, social determinants of health, prevention, workforce engagement, and shared healthcare decision making.
Objectives: The main objective for HIIP participants is to increase their capacity to engage with and around PCOR/CER in their assessment of health innovations. As health innovators are key influencers in our healthcare system, the project team believes innovators’ heightened awareness of PCOR/CER parameters would translate in the following ways:
- Improved patient-centered outcomes
- Faster implementation of PCOR/CER findings into practical application
- A more responsive health system that can better address the ongoing and everchanging challenges of the current healthcare environment
- Work with health innovators to consider PCOR/CER parameters in assessing their health process innovations as influenced by learnings from the HIIP materials and trainings
- Encourage employers/health plans (end users) to demand greater accountability around PCOR/CER in their purchasing decisions
- Connect PCOR/CER investigators to health innovators so that future healthcare studies in PCOR/CER parameters are addressed and findings, key strategies, and recommendations are disseminated for use by employers and other relevant stakeholders
Activities: HIIP activities include attending these three modules:
- Module One: PCOR/CER Education
- Module Two: Current State Assessment (CSA)
- Module Three: Playbook for Improvement (Playbook)
The National Alliance Project team and an advisory board, to comprise PCOR/CER researchers, employers, health plan experts, patient advocates, and corporate-based medical directors, will offer guidance and insights throughout the entire program.
The participating innovators will receive Certificates of Completion at the end of the four-month training program including all three modules.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs: The primary projected outcome for this project is to build and broaden the capacity of employer-focused healthcare innovators to engage with and around PCOR/CER so that over time their innovations will reflect this new learning.
Long-term (narrow) projected outcome is for PCOR/CER investigators to
prioritize new areas of study on health processes that are driving change. It is critical for the PCOR/CER research community to accelerate their research cycle and move out of areas that have been overemphasized.
The project team hopes this process will awaken an urgent need to marry science with innovation, where both sides recognize the importance of what each brings to the table and the opportunities it presents for lasting change.
Long-term (wide), by building capacity around PCOR/CER across all these stakeholder groups—employers, innovators and researchers—the project team hopes to see shortened timeframes for research to go from bench to bedside. This is critical to creating an agile and responsive healthcare system for the future, where all outcomes are recognized collectively, from both economic and patient-centered perspectives together, as an aggregate of what will lead to healthy vibrant communities.
Patient Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The healthcare innovator participants are the key stakeholders the project team is looking to engage in this capacity-building project. Initially, potential participants will be asked to apply through a vetting process to ensure the project recruits candidates who are in the right phase of their development and who will most benefit from the activities being offered through HIIP. Once accepted into the program, the training modules will move at a rapid pace to keep the participants engaged in the process. This program offers the participants an opportunity to first assess their own concept development protocols. With this baseline in mind, they will then be asked to build out their strategies to include a more comprehensive set of measures focused on patient-centered outcomes. Each module will have activities for engagement, from surveys to evaluations tools, to ignite dialogue within and between the organizations being represented.
Project Collaborators: The advisory board members are the key industry collaborators in this project. They will guide the work forward at each phase of the workplan. It is critical to have representation from a wide spectrum of healthcare industry stakeholders including patient advocates, PCOR/CER researchers, employers, coalition leaders, medical advisors, and innovators. Engagement with advisors will include written feedback on materials developed, plus five virtual meetings per year that will take place during the project period to discuss the progress of the program. The advisors will receive compensation for their service, and their cost for travel to attend the sponsored session at the National Alliance Annual Forum in 2023 will be covered.