PCOR Grant Awards

New AHRQ-Funded Centers to Study Health Systems and Their Efforts to Disseminate Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
Press Release Date: June 15, 2015

Speaking today at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting in Minneapolis, Richard Kronick, Ph.D., director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), announced plans to fund three Centers of Excellence to study how high-performing health care systems promote evidence-based practices in delivering care. The Centers will identify the characteristics of health systems that successfully disseminate and apply evidence from patient-centered outcomes research, and they will analyze the connections between successful dissemination of patient-centered outcomes research, patient health outcomes and effective use of resources.

The three grants, which will begin in September, will provide approximately $52 million over five years to study how complex delivery systems disseminate evidence-based findings and provide lessons learned to inform the dissemination of findings in other settings. Increasingly, clinicians work within complex health systems. Understanding how health systems disseminate information on what works and what does not work will facilitate successful dissemination of evidence-based practices moving forward. This project is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund, which was created by the Affordable Care Act.

“New evidence is valuable only if it is used,” said Dr. Kronick. “We expect this effort will give us a better understanding of how successful health care delivery systems disseminate new evidence so we can enable the rapid adoption of best practices throughout the health care system and improve patient outcomes.”

The three Centers of Excellence will identify, classify, track and compare health care delivery systems to understand the organizational and environmental factors affecting the use of evidence-based medicine. The effort is part of the Agency’s ongoing work to accelerate the dissemination and implementation of patient-centered outcomes research, or PCOR, findings into practice. It is also tied to the wider Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) delivery system reform initiative to encourage Better Care, Smarter Spending, and Healthier People.

The three Centers of Excellence carrying out this work, their principal investigators, and their area of focus include:

  • Dartmouth College (Principal Investigator: Elliott Fisher, M.D., M.P.H.), in collaboration with the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University and the High Value Healthcare Collaborative (18 systems). This center will use mixed methods involving existing and ongoing claims-based data, conduct a national survey of health care organizations and systems to understand the inner workings of systems, and in particular, how market and organizational factors influence the implementation of biomedical, delivery system and patient engagement innovations.
  • National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) (Principal Investigator: David Cutler, Ph.D., Harvard University and NBER), in collaboration with the Health Research & Educational Trust and the Network of Regional Healthcare Initiatives. This center will create a large national database to identify health systems in the United States and their characteristics and outcomes, as well as the evolving consolidation and integration of systems over time, and to use those data to study health systems nationally, with a focus on cancer care, pediatric health care delivery, dialysis and post-acute care.
  • RAND Corporation (Principal Investigator: Cheryl Damberg, Ph.D.), in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University. This center will examine health systems in five regions with the goal of understanding the role of incentives, use of health IT and organizational integration within systems and its impact on performance and evidence dissemination.

In addition, AHRQ will fund a coordinating center to help facilitate collaboration between the three centers in the development of a national compendium of the performance of health care systems across the United States.

AHRQ also recently announced another PCOR dissemination initiative, EvidenceNow, which is focused on helping small- and medium-sized primary care practices in 12 states improve the heart health of their nearly 8 million patients. For more information about AHRQ’s EvidenceNow initiative, visit www.ahrq.gov/evidencenow.html

Page last reviewed June 2015
Internet Citation: PCOR Grant Awards. June 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsroom/press-releases/2015/pcorawards.html