PCORI Board Approves Strategic Plan, Funding for Maternal Health, Telehealth

By Clinical Research News Staff 

June 14, 2022 | The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors has approved the development of new research funding opportunities, providing up to $63 million for studies on reducing maternal health inequities and up to $50 million for research on using telehealth to improve management of multiple chronic conditions. 

The Board of Governors also approved a Strategic Plan to address the needs of patients, caregivers and all stakeholders in a complex and evolving health care landscape. The Strategic Plan provides a roadmap for PCORI’s future funding of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) as well as stakeholder engagement, dissemination, and implementation of research results, and investments to enhance the nation’s CER infrastructure.

Maternal Health, Telehealth 

The forthcoming Targeted PCORI Funding Announcement (PFA) offering up to $63 million for research conducted by partnerships between clinical research teams and community organizations on how best to address disparities in maternal health outcomes will take an innovative approach, supporting research that aims to address both clinical and social factors driving disparities. Disparities in maternal outcomes persist in the U.S., particularly for Black and American Indian/Alaska Native individuals and for people with disabilities, low incomes, or rural residences.

PCORI anticipates funding three awards under this forthcoming Targeted PFA to be issued in January 2023, with each awardee having the opportunity to conduct more than one CER study with their funds. This structure will enable awardees to address more than one priority issue in their community. In addition, the initiative will support training opportunities for investigators from populations and communities traditionally underrepresented and underserved in health research. 

PCORI plans to release the forthcoming Targeted PFA to compare different approaches to incorporating telehealth as part of primary care to facilitate optimal management of multiple chronic conditions in September this year, offering up to $50 million for studies. Research funded through this Targeted PFA will generate evidence to help the health care community better understand how to leverage in the future the widespread use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve care for individuals with complex chronic needs, particularly those in vulnerable populations. 

More than 27% of people in the U.S. live with multiple chronic conditions. The burden of these conditions is higher among racial and ethnic groups such as non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native individuals, as well as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and those who live in rural areas.

In addition, PCORI will reissue a Targeted PFA on healthy aging, offering up to $25 million with a focus on optimizing physical and mental functioning for community-dwelling older adults and their caregivers across the aging continuum. 

The research topics within these funding opportunities were identified with extensive input from patients and stakeholders, including organizations representing states and rural communities, federal health agencies, payers, health systems, clinicians, and others across the health and health care continuum. 

Details of PCORI’s funding opportunities can be found on PCORI’s website. To date, PCORI has invested $3.4 billion to fund patient-centered CER and related projects, including initiatives to implement useful findings from PCORI-funded research and on supporting the engagement of people in research projects.

Strategic Roadmap 

PCORI’s Strategic Plan approved by its Board of Governors this week outlines a bold vision for addressing the challenges that our nation’s complex, fast-changing health care system poses and an expanded focus on advancing health equity. The plan centers on five National Priorities for Health and incorporates a Research Agenda adopted by PCORI’s Board of Governors earlier this year.

The Strategic Plan’s approval caps an extensive, stakeholder-informed effort to position PCORI’s future work to best address the evidence gaps that matter most to patients, caregivers and other stakeholders across the health and health care continuum – from clinicians and payers to purchasers and researchers, and others.  

“Health care options have never been more plentiful than they are today, which presents unique challenges for patients seeking reliable information to inform their decisions,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, M.D., M.P.H, in a press release. “PCORI’s Strategic Plan is a holistic approach to generating and promoting CER evidence designed to enable a more patient-centered system of health. We look forward to building new partnerships, strengthening existing relationships and developing enhanced engagement approaches to achieve our mission.”

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