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Population Health News

PCORI Offers $70M for Population Health Management Research

PCORI funding will go toward nine different projects all aimed at improving population health management and chronic disease management.

By Sara Heath

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has approved $70 million in new funding for research initiatives to improve population health management.

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The funding will support the implementation of nine research projects involving several different conditions, from ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) to diabetes to chronic lung disease.

Five of the projects align with PCORI’s initiative for “pragmatic clinical studies,” meaning they seek to produce scalable results that will work across a wide range of patients and that will be easier to adopt in practice.

These studies are conducted in typical, routine care settings with patients whose conditions closely mirror those of typical patients.

These five pragmatic clinical studies involve:

  • Active surveillance versus traditional treatment options, such as surgery and radiation, for patients diagnosed with DCIS.

  • The effectiveness of two medications – roflumilast and azithromycin – commonly used to treat patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

  • The effectiveness of different approaches involving community health workers, tailored education, and other means to help adults with serious mental illness quit smoking.

  • The effectiveness of daily use of an inhaled corticosteroid versus symptom-based use for reducing asthma exacerbations in African American and Hispanic adults with asthma.

  • The effectiveness of two approaches to help people manage their chronic migraines and reduce the risk medication overuse.  

These projects highlight a commitment to patient-centered, usable results. By including patients, national advocacy organizations, major professional societies, and payers, PCORI aims for these projects to yield results that will be easy to use in a clinical setting.

Another $6.7 million has been set aside for PCORnet projects. PCORnet is PCORI’s initiative to create a network of patient-centered clinical research. These awards will be geared toward projects that look into population-targeted policies in type II diabetes.

These three projects will work in conjunction with the Natural Experiments Network (NEN) and other industry stakeholders, and will work toward better health policy for population health management.

“Their projects will be part of the newly announced Natural Experiments Network (NEN), a joint effort of PCORI, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health,” PCORI says in a press release. “NEN study findings are meant to inform policy makers’, health plan directors’ and community leaders’ efforts to prioritize policies and other actions to prevent diabetes.”

The PCORI funding also allots $5.2 million toward the organization’s initiative to improve healthcare systems, specifically through patient engagement in population health management. This particular project will look at the effectiveness in text message alerts and wellness coaches in helping African Americans with diabetes.

A final $3.8 million has been allocated to a PCORnet study to examine aspirin dosages to prevent heart attacks and strokes in patients with heart disease.

“The funds will support expanded trial activities, including the participation of two additional CDRNs as well as recruiting patients with no Internet access, an important subpopulation given the study’s reliance on digital tools,” PCORI explains.

All of these PCORI research initiatives align with the organization’s goals to help healthcare professionals, patients, and caretakers find the best possible solutions to various healthcare issues. By identifying key patient populations that need various solutions, PCORI seeks to improve population health management across the industry.

"We're strongly committed to supporting large-scale projects that will provide patients and those who care for them with the useful, authoritative evidence they need to make the better-informed health and health care decisions," said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH.

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