Everyday, patients are faced with tough decisions about health conditions they may not understand and choices that are not clear cut. To make matters even more difficult, much of the time there is little or no evidence to use as the basis for making a decision one way or another. Even if there is, it’s often not evidence that is easy to summarize or communicate to the patient.
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was authorized by The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 to address this problem by funding research that will help patients make better informed health decisions by producing and promoting high-integrity evidence-based information.
To this end, PCORI aims to make patients active and meaningful partners in the research process, from helping to craft the research questions to designing the study and disseminating the results. Patients are even included, along with other stakeholders, as reviewers of research applications. Working with Health 2.0, PCORI is sponsoring a challenge looking for innovative approaches to help get there.
The Patient-Researcher Matching Challenge seeks a proposal or prototype for a patient/researcher “matching” system that could effectively connect potential partners interested in rigorous patient-centered outcomes research.
They describe the overall objective of the system as follows:
Although the research community has extensive experience in recruiting patients as study subjects, engaging them as meaningful “collaborators” in research is not routine. We know many researchers are interested in taking this approach but don’t necessarily know the best or most effective way to proceed. Likewise, we know many patients and caregivers are interested in working with researchers, or might have research questions they would they’d like to see tested in a rigorous study, but are unsure of how to make the connection that will allow them to see that done.
The proposed solution could be a conceptual model, adaptation of an existing matching protocol, a prototype for an entirely new web-based service or app, or something else entirely.
Two separate awards are available through this challenge–$10,000 for the top conceptual model and $50,000 for the top prototype submission. Submission deadline for the challenge is April 15, 2013. Health 2.0 will be holding a webinar on January 28th at 12 pm EST where developers will be able to engage in Q&A with the challenge organizers.
To meet its goals, PCORI established key priorities to help guide how it will fund research going forward.
- Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options: Comparing the effectiveness and safety of alternative prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options to see which work best for different people with a particular health problem.
- Improving Healthcare Systems: Comparing health system-level approaches to improving access, supporting patient self-care, innovative use of health information technology, coordinating care for complex conditions, and deploying workforce effectively.
- Communication and Dissemination Research: Comparing approaches to providing comparative effectiveness research information, empowering people to ask for and use the information, and supporting shared decision‐making between patients and their providers.
- Addressing Disparities: Identifying potential differences in prevention, diagnosis or treatment effectiveness, or preferred clinical outcomes across patient populations and the healthcare required to achieve best outcomes in each population.
- Accelerating Patient-Centered Outcomes Research and Methodological Research: Improving the nation’s capacity to conduct patient‐centered outcomes research, by building data infrastructure, improving analytic methods, and training researchers, patients and other stakeholders to participate in this research.
“This challenge offers an opportunity for innovators to help PCORI pursue our commitment to ‘research done differently’ by meaningfully bringing the voice of patients, caregivers and other stakeholders to the research process,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “We believe such an approach will produce more meaningful research that improves outcomes that matter to patients.”