HHS awards $17 million for patient-centered outcomes research

The government will distribute nearly $17 million for patient-centered outcomes research that is supported by health information technology and data systems, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Wednesday.

The research compares treatments and strategies to improve health outcomes for patients. The three sets of three-year funds will be made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The money will help establish a network of research centers, enable patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) in pediatric emergency medicine, and support building capacity for community-based providers to engage in this type of research.
 
"Patient-centered outcomes research can improve health outcomes by developing and disseminating evidence-based information to patients, providers and decision-makers about the effectiveness of different treatments," said Sebelius.
 
"These funds allow us to invest in robust systems and infrastructure to bring patient-centered research knowledge into everyday clinical decision-making for the diverse and vulnerable populations that HRSA serves, and that are often under-represented in this kind of research," said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield.
 
Five cooperative agreement awards will go to organizations in four states to create the Community Health Applied Research Network (CHARN) to demonstrate that safety net providers and academic institutions can partner together to create an effective infrastructure that supports patient-centered outcomes research. This network in particular will provide an opportunity to evaluate patient-centered outcomes research among diverse populations and patient subgroups that are not always adequately represented in similar studies.
 
The CHARN consists of a Central Data Management Coordinating Center, based at the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals' Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., and four networks selected as research "nodes" in California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Oregon. The nodes are geographically dispersed consortia of safety net providers in 17 states.
 
Three of the four research nodes will focus on patient-centered outcomes research related to the delivery of primary care, while the fourth (in Boston) will focus more specifically on research that is relevant to the care and treatment of individuals with HIV/AIDS.
 
Another grant totaling $3.5 million will be awarded to Columbia University to support patient-centered outcomes research within the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network. The funds will help boost data capacity, conduct studies and disseminate information on research findings involving pediatric emergency care.
 
Separately, a grant totaling $3.5 million will be made to the American Academy of Pediatrics at Elk Grove Village, Ill., to support development of an electronic health record sub-network within the Pediatric Research Network in the office setting, the nation's largest pediatric primary care research network. The results from this work will be used to inform guidelines and policies of pediatric practice.

A list of the award recipients is on the next page.

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