Press Release

Embargoed Until Contact

December 05, 2011

Sue Ducat
Director of Communications
(301) 841-9962


Comparative Effectiveness Research: Opportunities and Challenges for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute in 2012 and Beyond


The December 2011 issue of Health Affairs explores changes needed to ensure that comparative effectiveness research improves patient care, including the challenge of "negative" research findings


Bethesda, MD -- The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is preparing to review its first round of pilot grant proposals and to release its research priorities in 2012. In an interview published in the December 2011 issue of Health Affairs, the institute's executive director, Joe V. Selby, tells the journal's editor-in-chief, Susan Dentzer, about the organization's near-term work plan--and about how seriously it takes the "patient-centered" focus inherent in its name.


Additional papers in the December issue examine priorities for the comparative effectiveness research in which PCORI will engage. The articles offer recommendations for PCORI's research priorities and outline challenges facing the institute and comparative effectiveness research in general, as follows:


  • To have the most influence on real-world health care decision making, Harvard University's Alan M. Garber recommends that PCORI compare interventions on the bases of their clinical risks and benefits, their economic considerations, and the insights they might offer into medical care. He provides an example of how this assessment and rating framework would work by comparing cardiac bypass and angioplasty, common treatments for heart disease.

  • As PCORI begins putting together a research agenda, the National Pharmaceutical Council's Robert W. Dubois and Jennifer S. Graff propose an eight-step framework to guide the setting of research priorities. Critical components include assessing the public health benefits of various treatments and ensuring transparency throughout the priority-setting process.

  • "Personalized" cancer treatment--using biomarker tests to identify certain genes, proteins, or other indicators that can enable the use of highly tailored therapies--offers tremendous potential for improved outcomes and lower treatment costs. However, the lack of available evidence to support the effectiveness of these tests and the high costs of needed research will require better data collection and creative funding sources, say Scott D. Ramsey of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and colleagues.


The articles in this issue are part of Health Affairs' ongoing coverage of comparative effectiveness research; Health Affairs' October 2010 thematic issue focused on the subject.

About Health Affairs

Health Affairs is the leading journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published by Project HOPE, the peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published periodically and health policy briefs published twice monthly at Read daily perspectives on Health Affairs Blog. Download weekly Narrative Matters podcasts on iTunes.