PCORI approves up to $50 million in funding for new projects to address COVID-19

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors today, building on its rapid response to the COVID-19 health crisis, approved allocating up to $50 million in additional funding for new projects in PCORI's COVID-19 funding opportunities, as well as enhancements to existing PCORI-funded studies. The research will help provide answers to difficult COVID-19 related questions faced by patients, providers and health systems.

Since April, PCORI has provided $17 million in funding to existing projects that enable researchers to adapt their work to address COVID-19. Notable enhancements include examining telehealth as a viable option to increase access to care and improve health outcomes for people managing sickle cell disease. Another study will examine the clinical presentation, treatments, and outcomes of children with a new multisystem inflammatory condition that has emerged in communities heavily impacted by COVID-19. This condition is called MIS-C and shares some similarities with Kawasaki disease, the research focus of the original award.

PCORI continues to marshal its resources to address the unprecedented and constantly evolving challenges created by this pandemic, through innovative funding mechanisms like today's enhancements to existing research. We're also harnessing the power of PCORnet®, and its network of more than 800,000 clinicians and hundreds of health systems in support of the HERO Registry Program, a national registry of health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Those registered have the option of providing invaluable information about COVID-19 risk factors, medical encounters and health status that can be used to inform future research projects and enrollment into clinical trials. We also continue our commitment to much needed new research to help answer significant questions regarding treatment and delivery of care that are important to patients and those who care for them."

Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH, PCORI Executive Director

The Board is making up to $30 million available for a new PCORI Funding Announcement focused on interventions to prevent youth suicide. It also approved $25 million to fund 10 new studies comparing the most effective ways to treat a range of health conditions that impose high burdens on patients, their families and the health care system. Among the new projects receiving PCORI support are:

  • A $4.2 million study with City of Hope examining strategies for improving care for people recovering from cancer surgery. This project compares remote telemonitoring of a person's activity by a care team through the use of a wearable device with post-surgical care led by a surgical team where patients will call the hospital if they have symptoms and problems with daily activities. The goal is to understand which care method leads to greater improvements to recovery and fewer symptoms or complications after surgery.
  • A total of $3.6 million in funding for a HealthPartners Institute study comparing two strategies for monitoring blood glucose for people with Type 2 diabetes who are insulin-dependent -- fingerstick self-monitoring and continuous glucose monitoring- to determine which monitoring method produces better outcomes for blood-sugar regulation.
  • A $2.9 million project from the University of Kentucky that compares the effectiveness of two types of online cognitive behavioral therapy to determine whether a video conferencing face-to-face or self-administered internet-based approach works better to reduce depressive symptoms in heart disease patients in rural Appalachia who lack access to in-person mental health services.
  • A $1.4 million project with Meharry Medical College that compares the addition of a culturally tailored counseling strategy known as motivational interviewing to medical nutritional therapy to see if it is more effective than medical nutritional therapy alone in improving diabetes-related outcomes among African-American women in the southeastern United States.

The Board also approved $1.4 million for a Dissemination and Implementation project that promotes the uptake of PCORI-funded research findings into practice. This project builds on a successfully completed PCORI-funded comparative effectiveness research (CER) study and follow-up implementation project by scaling up delivery of a point-of-care patient education program found to improve patients' use of blood clot prevention medication in two types of hospitals. This award will work to incorporate the program into standard practice at 10 trauma centers across the country, to protect patients at high risk for dangerous blood clots.

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.

With these latest awards, PCORI has invested nearly $2.8 billion to fund nearly 800 patient-centered CER studies and to support other projects designed to enhance CER methods and the infrastructure necessary to conduct CER rigorously and efficiently.

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