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An NIH study of treatments for high blood pressure, called the ALLHAT trial, shows some of the strengths and limitations of comparative effectiveness research to improve patient care. More...
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The actions taken by the Patient Centered Outcomes and Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors at their Washington, D.C., meeting made many in the patient and health care communities more confident that the Board is working to be truly-patient centered. The Board members, with the help of the public, came up with a consensus on an improved definition for patient-centered outcomes research that focuses on how CER should be conducted in order to properly focus on patients. But despite PCORI’s efforts, some health researchers and policymakers still wish to use CER to impose coverage restrictions.
In an effort to curb these efforts, Sean Tunis, a former Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) official, spoke with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and called for a closer connection between patient-centered outcomes research and the Medicare system. Tunis believes that CMS should base its policies on comparative effectiveness. He said that, the “collaborative relationships with the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute will need to be strengthened, ideally with direction from a well-defined list of clinical research priorities reflecting the perspectives of the Medicare program."
I’m all for collaboration, but at the end of the day, PCORI will have to decide whether its priorities are defined by the needs of patients and helping them meet their health care goals, or the needs of CMS in helping them meet cost-containment goals. I’m very hopeful PCORI will establish a program that is truly patient-centered. That starts with a sound definition of patient-centered outcomes research, open processes that maximize patient input throughout the process, and a clear focus on clinical outcomes and quality improvement.