- Patient-centered research projects are getting a significant financial boost early in the year thanks to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), which has allocated a total of $200 million for research proposals that compare healthcare options across multiple conditions.
Nine PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs), each eligible for different funding amounts, are open for researchers and investigators to submit Letters of Intent, PCORI announced in a press release. The deadline for applicants is Tuesday, Feb. 14 by 5 PM.
PCORI stated that all PFAs are guided by their National Priorities of Research.
"Our National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda is a framework to guide our funding of comparative clinical effectiveness research that will give patients and those who care for them the ability to make better-informed health decisions,” the organization explained. “The framework was developed by work groups of our Board of Governors, members of our Methodology Committee, and staff."
This new round of PFAs is the latest in PCORI funding efforts to study the effectiveness of different types of patient treatment. Last December, PCORI approved $42 million in funding for 19 new studies on comparative effectiveness of treatments.
The grant opportunities cover a range of issues, including improving the care of chronic lower back pain.
The first of two openings titled Optimized Multidisciplinary Treatment Programs for Nonspecific Chronic Low Back Pain, allocates $50 million dollars to fund randomized clinical trials that compare the effectiveness of commonly used noninvasive interventions for patients with chronic low back pain. PCORI is interested in interventions including exercise therapy, complementary and integrated health, non-opioid pharmacological interventions, and multidisciplinary rehabilitation.
"We are particularly interested in large pragmatic studies that can investigate potential heterogeneity of treatment effects among important patient subgroups (e.g., overweight or obese patients, patients with prominent psychosocial stressors or comorbid mental health conditions, older adults, patients who smoke cigarettes, or other subgroups proposed by investigators with an accompanying strong rationale.)," PCORI stated.
The second back pain study, titled Comparison of Surgical and Nonsurgical Options for Management of Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain, opened funds of $22 million available for researchers and investigators to compare the effectiveness of surgical and nonsurgical intervention when managing chronic, nonspecific low back pain in adults.
"In particular, the goal of this announcement is to support patient-centered CER [clinical effectiveness research] that addresses questions about the effectiveness of lumbar fusion versus optimized, multidisciplinary nonsurgical approaches," PCORI said in the supporting document.
PCORI has also set aside $90 million to fund clinical trials that address prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or management of diseases or symptoms. Projects that eliminate healthcare disparities and look to improve system-level approaches to healthcare also are funded by this PFA.
"Proposed studies must address critical clinical choices faced by patients, their caregivers, clinicians, or delivery systems. They must involve broadly representative patient populations and be large enough to provide precise estimates of hypothesized effectiveness differences and to support evaluation of potential differences in treatment effectiveness in patient subgroups," PCORI said.
There are five other non-specified funding announcement offering a total of $40 million for research ideas focused on patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness projects.
PCORI also allocated $9 million in funding for their Dissemination and Implementation Awards. This is an effort by PCORI to get research results from PFA awardees quickly implemented into the healthcare environment.
"This opportunity will give PCORI investigators the chance, following the generation of results from their PCORI research award, to propose the next step(s) for making their research results more useful, actionable, and accessible to targeted end-users. This announcement is designed to promote and facilitate the effective and timely use of research evidence in the real world."
Additional information, including PFA specifics and submission dates for application materials, can be found on the PCORI Funding Opportunities page.