Institute’s focus: How research is changing in the ACA era

That the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) awards follow such patient-centric guidelines shouldn’t come as much of a shock; it’s in the organization’s name, after all.

But what may come as a surprise to unfamiliar researchers is that a patient is actually on the other end of their funding application, reviewing their submission and helping to decide who gets funded.

Tom Fogg, M.S., M.P.H.

Tom Fogg, M.S., M.P.H.

“A patient’s score counts just as much as a scientist’s,” said Tom Fogg, M.S., M.P.H., director of operations for the CTSI.  “It has a lot of implications for the way the application should be written.  It can’t be totally impenetrable – it has to be composed in a way that a general reader can understand it.”

Spawned by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), PCORI is just one of several funding sources that have been shifting their focus toward patient-centered outcomes.

At the Mini Summer Research Institute, which takes place on June 19, researchers, clinicians, and trainees can learn more about how the ACA has affected the funding landscape, and learn from colleagues who have had success navigating the still-being-charted waters.

Designed around a series of rapid-fire presentations, the day-long institute will provide attendees with targeted synopses on a wide variety of topics.  No individual presentation spans longer than half an hour — most, such as Fogg’s, which is on the PCORI review process, will only last 10-15 minutes.

Harriet Kitzman, Ph.D.

Harriet Kitzman, Ph.D.

Instead, the event will devote large portions of time to a series of panels and Q&As that allow attendees to dig deeper into whatever topic they are interested in.

“I think it will be helpful even for the established R01 investigators to get a sense of what the new directions are,” said Harriet Kitzman, Ph.D., co-director of the CTSI and director of the Center for Research Implementation and Translation, which is hosting the institute.  “We have a great panel in the afternoon to talk about the three major areas here in regards to the Affordable Care Act, and the research questions that are emerging from it.”

Among those questions: how to go about quality improvement research, which Kevin Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H., has been working on.

Kevin Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H.

Kevin Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H.

Fiscella will discuss the learning health care system, and will use several examples from his own research, including a recent study in which the IRB waived the consent process when his team was attempting to measure the effectiveness of cancer screening reminders.

“If you go out and find unscreened people and say ‘I want to enroll you in a controlled study of cancer screening,’ it immediately taints the whole study,” said Fiscella.  “So I think our IRB has taken an enlightened approach on some of these things.”

To register for the Mini Summer Research Institute, or to see the full list of presentations, click here.

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