PCORI Draft Proposal Slim on Details, Calls for Public Input

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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) drew criticism Monday when it released its draft priorities and research agenda, but failed to identify any specific areas of research as many following the group had anticipated.

Diagnostic imaging providers hoping to know if PCORI would begin its work by funding any research specifically on radiology tests and treatments must therefore continue to wait and watch.

PCORI was created as part of the Affordable Care Act as a way to improve evidence-based medicine. It was chartered with $3 billion in funding over the next 10 years. Last week, its board of governors met for two days in Jacksonville, Fla., to discus the draft priorities.

When the 21-member board came out this week with rather open-ended topics, some viewed it as a way to sidestep any controversy.

Instead of specifics, the group named five areas of research where they want to solicit public comment for additional focus. Those areas of research include assessment of options for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment; improving health care systems; communication and dissemination research; addressing disparities; and accelerating patient-centered outcomes research and methodological research.

Comparative effectiveness research of the kind PCORI is set up to fund has the potential to reduce health care costs by reducing the use of tests and treatments that do not improve outcomes for most patients. However, as the controversy over mammography guidelines in the United States and Canada has shown, research findings that are used to justify putting limits on the use of a specific test or treatment can be extremely controversial.

A public comment period will run through the end of March.

To read a press release from PCORI click here.