The Fifth Element

  • by: |
  • 09/18/2012

The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute began accepting proposals for up to $96 million in grants for research projects addressing four of its five priorities.

The fifth element, the one it’s ignoring, however, is the most important.

The four priorities are: comparing alternative prevention, diagnosis and treatment options; improving healthcare systems; comparing communication approaches to providing comparative effectiveness research information; and addressing potential differences in prevention, diagnosis or treatment effectiveness, or preferred clinical outcomes across patient populations.

(Earlier this month, on BioCentury This Week, PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby told that low back pain, uterine fibroids and depression could be early targets for comparative effectiveness research.)

What’s not being addressed, is PCORI’s fifth priority, 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 the research.

Hello! That’s the most urgent need but, alas the least agenda-driven for those whose ultimate goal is a US NICE. After all, why fund programs to advance a science-based understanding of patient outcomes data when you can fund “research” programs to find the best way to “communicate” about comparative effectiveness.

Say it ain’t so Joe.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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