PCORI Board approves $70 million to support projects designed to improve care for health conditions

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors today approved $70 million to fund 21 studies and related projects designed to improve care for health conditions that impose high burdens on patients, their families and the healthcare system.

Eighteen of the awards, totaling about $65 million, will fund studies comparing the most effective ways to treat a range of illnesses and health conditions. Three of these focus on health issues of concern to older adults--two on hearing loss and one on safer prescribing of glucose-lowering drugs in people with Type 2 diabetes. Three other studies focus on children's health issues; two seek to improve treatment of anxiety in children and adolescents and one seeks to prevent obesity among preschoolers in rural, underserved areas.

The Board also approved $5 million in funding for three Dissemination and Implementation projects to move the results of PCORI-funded research into practice. A Children's Hospital of Philadelphia project will use tested strategies to improve antibiotic prescribing in outpatient settings for children with acute upper respiratory infections. A University of California at Irvine project will use a measure of children's health status, shown to work well even for young children, to help clinicians and families improve management of Type 1 diabetes. The third project, at the University of Utah, will expand the use of an effective asthma control intervention to improve both the tracking of asthma symptoms and care coordination.

These awards are the latest examples of PCORI's commitment to funding research that can improve care and outcomes for patients dealing with important health issues by helping them and their doctors make better-informed decisions about their treatment options. I'm also pleased that our Board has approved funding for additional projects designed to support disseminating and implementing selected findings from our funded studies into everyday practice."

Josephine P. Briggs, MD, PCORI Interim Executive Director

The newly funded studies include two focused on opioid use across the spectrum of care. PCORI currently funds three-dozen studies seeking to address the nation's opioid epidemic by finding better ways to help people manage chronic pain, prevent inappropriate opioid use, improve long-term pain management while reducing the risk opioids can pose, and increase access to and quality of opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment. The latest awards are:

  • A $5 million University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus study comparing whether in-office or at-home medication-assisted treatment for OUD is more effective
  • A $3.7 million Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center study of whether acupuncture can reduce the need for opioids to manage pain in patients who have received high-dose chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplants

The awards focused on older adults' health include two designed to improve care for those with hearing problems. One is a $2.5 million Northwestern University study comparing two self-guided models for helping people select and be fitted for hearing aids with the regular audiology-based method of care. The second is a $2.2 million University of Pittsburgh project assessing in assisted living facilities whether monthly visits by an audiologist coupled with trained personnel providing ongoing hearing care support is effective in helping aging adults address their hearing loss. The Board also approved a $1.1 million award to the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals in Oakland, Calif., to study how to more safely prescribe glucose-lowering drugs in older adults with Type 2 diabetes. These drugs are very effective but can have significant side effects as people age, so it is important to better understand how and when to reduce therapy.

Other awards approved include:

  • $7 million for an Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago study to examine strategies for improving treatment for children and adolescents diagnosed with anxiety disorders. The study will compare cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with and without medication.
  • A $6.5 million award to Children's Hospital Los Angeles will fund a comparison of ways to improve treatment of anxiety disorders in children and teens, predominantly those from ethnic minorities and underserved communities.
  • $3.8 million in funding for a Geisinger Clinic study comparing methods of integrating obesity prevention information in well-child visits among pre-school aged children in rural Pennsylvania.

Other awards approved today included two for studies focusing on improving treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), one at the University of Washington and the other at the Center for Veterans Research and Education in Minneapolis, and four to improve the methods for conducting CER.

Details of all projects approved for funding by the Board are on PCORI's website. All were approved pending a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of formal award contracts.

The Board also approved the appointment of Scott Berns, MD, MPH, as chair of the Advisory Panel on Rare Disease. Berns is the President and CEO of the National Institute for Children's Health Quality, a nonprofit organization that works to improve children's health, and a co-Founder of The Progeria Research Foundation, which aims to discover treatments and the cure for Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome and its aging-related conditions.

With these latest awards, PCORI has invested nearly $2.4 billion to fund more than 750 patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness (CER) studies and other projects designed to enhance CER methods and the infrastructure necessary to conduct CER rigorously and efficiently.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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