Health IT projects get chunk of $54 million PCORI funding

Thirty-three new research projects will receive funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors--including some that are IT-related.

This week, PCORI announced $54.8 million for projects surrounding clinical effectiveness research that will study health conditions and concerns that impact millions of Americans. The proposals to get funding include studies to improve outcomes for people with diabetes, chronic pain, mental health conditions, cancer and more.

Three technology-based efforts include:

  • Building data registries with privacy and confidentiality for patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR): Emory University in Atlanta will develop a framework for building patient-centered and privacy-preserving statistical data registries for PCOR research. The study aims to establish data registries from private data; create methods for data registries that use private and consented data; and evaluate and track patient privacy risks. Researchers want to empower patients with "rigorous and transparent privacy control" while contributing data to PCOR.
  • Developing new technology to modernize data abstraction in systematic reviews: Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore are looking to create a software tool that will record the location of data and then automatically enter the right data into a database to improve efficiency and reduce error rates. The database will increase the availability of clinical trial data for the public. The study will also compare computer-assisted data abstraction with traditional approaches.
  • Improving methods for linking secondary data sources for CER/PCOR: Duke University in North Carolina wants to improve the use of electronic health records, claims data and registries as platforms for PCOR. Researchers are looking to develop, test and share ways to link different health databases securely without requiring patient identifiers as well as reflect patient voice to the research community and provide opportunities for patients to understand the risks and benefits of linking data.

PCORI announced in December $93.5 million in funding to go toward a "network of networks" to provide access to a large amount of health information to make research faster and more efficient.

A viewpoint published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that information technology will be crucial to pushing disease prevention efforts in healthcare, and that patient-centered research efforts could be key for building a case for the cost-effectiveness of prevention interventions.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- check out the awarded projects