Healthcare providers face a wide range of complex and often confusing choices when it comes to addressing their patients’ healthcare concerns. They need trustworthy information to decide which option is best for them. Medical research has helped us make remarkable advances in patient care, but many of the questions clinicians face daily remain unanswered. And even when reliable information does exist, it might not be available in ways clinicians and caregivers can understand or put to use effectively.
There are significant gaps in evidence needed to improve health outcomes, particularly for some conditions such as hepatitis C virus (HCV). While there are new oral medications that offer major improvements over traditional therapies, there are still many questions about the HCV medications because they were tested in specialized settings with carefully selected groups of patients. Without much more “real-world” evidence about their long-term effectiveness in a wider range of patients and comparative evidence to help inform care decisions, clinicians are left in the dark.
New funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will be used to answer the questions that remain regarding HCV oral therapies, and many more. Approving a whopping 83 million dollars for 26 studies, the PCORI Board of Governors says the studies will focus on patient-centered care among various diverse populations suffering from a number of conditions. A lion’s share of the funding will support studies on caring for people infected with HCV.
“We heard from many people—including individuals with hepatitis C as well as clinicians who treat them, the pharmaceutical industry, payers, and others—that with the great promise offered by new antiviral medications, there are also many questions about hepatitis C therapies and care delivery that need to be answered,” says PCORI Executive Director, Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “As the availability and use of the new antiviral medications increases, we’re pleased to support patient-centered CER that will help clinical decision makers to make better-informed choices about hepatitis C treatment and care.”
The newly approved clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies will compare different regimens of new oral antiviral medications and different ways to enhance HCV treatment adherence among injection drug users. After soliciting input from the healthcare community, which identified HCV infection as a top health concern, PCORI created the HCV awards.
PCORI is also developing targeted funding announcements for treatment of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and long-term opioid use for chronic pain. Twenty-four other awards were approved, including CER studies on treatments for rare conditions such as urea cycle disorders, genetic disorders caused by the liver’s inability to break down ammonia, non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis, a rare lung disease, and syringomyelia, a debilitating neurological condition.
Other CER studies will compare different options for arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), tobacco addiction, end-stage renal disease, and rare conditions. Several studies will concentrate on particular patient populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, children, and other population groups. You can get the details on the newly approved studies at pcori.org/research-results.
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.
What are some of the questions you face daily in caring for patients? Where do you see gaps in evidence? What do you think is a top health concern that needs more research? Tell us in the comments below.