AHRQ Views

Blog posts from AHRQ leaders

Sharon B. Arnold, Deputy Director of AHRQPatient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) can be an important tool in making informed health care decisions. PCOR compares the impact of two or more preventive, diagnostic, treatment, or health care delivery approaches on health outcomes, focusing on those that are meaningful to patients.  As a result, it provides valuable information that can help patients and their caregivers communicate with their health care providers, allowing their voices to be heard in assessing the value of health care options.

This helps patients, along with their health care providers, make choices to improve outcomes that are most important to them. But we know that it can often take far too long to get any evidence, not just PCOR, into practice. And, if patients and providers don’t know about it, then they can’t use it to make better health care decisions. 

AHRQ was an early pioneer of research comparing the effectiveness of different health care approaches.  Much of the Agency’s work in this area can be found here.  With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, comparative effectiveness research has evolved, with an emphasis on patient-centeredness, to PCOR. Our colleagues at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) are leading the way in embracing the patient-centered aspects. 

At AHRQ, our focus has shifted from funding this work to disseminating and implementing PCOR findings, in conjunction with our partners at PCORI, other agencies at the Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health, and those in the clinical community.  We are committed to ensuring that PCOR findings are more widely adopted and integrated into practice in as timely a way as possible to help improve the care patients receive.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce a new AHRQ PCOR Dissemination and Implementation (D&I) Initiative. It takes findings with proven benefits and shares them directly with the field—where patients and providers need them most. AHRQ recognizes that concerted efforts are needed to speed the adoption of evidence in practice and has demonstrated this commitment through its significant investments in EvidenceNOW. Our new PCOR D&I Initiative is an opportunity for the public to tell AHRQ about PCOR findings that should be adopted in practice to improve health outcomes.

AHRQ is seeking nominations of promising PCOR findings that can be considered for future dissemination and implementation activities. The purpose of the PCOR D&I Initiative is not to propose new topics for research, but rather to identify findings of established benefit from what we already know and support their implementation in practice.  In addition, as we proceed, we will be testing ways to carry out dissemination and implementation activities.  Our goal is not only to foster use of these findings, but also to learn what are the most efficient and meaningful ways to bring new knowledge to doctors, nurses, patients, and others.

To do so, we will prioritize findings with the most promise to improve health outcomes and fund projects to disseminate and implement them widely. When selecting PCOR findings, we will consider alignment with AHRQ and HHS priorities. We also are looking for research findings that have been peer-reviewed and have established evidence of benefit—that is, research findings supported by an existing evidence base that clearly demonstrates a benefit of one intervention or treatment over another under certain defined circumstances. 

Findings may include comparisons of preventive, diagnostic, treatment, or health care delivery approaches that improve health outcomes, including those that are meaningful to patients. The findings should be likely, when implemented, to improve outcomes and the health care that patients receive, or improve health care decisionmaking at an individual or system level.

We need your help to identify the most impactful PCOR findings to disseminate and implement.  The nomination process is open to all. Nominate PCOR findings today!

Page last reviewed June 2016
Page originally created June 2016
Internet Citation: AHRQ Dissemination and Implementation Initiative Demonstrates Ongoing Importance of PCOR. Content last reviewed June 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/blog/ahrqviews/ongoing-importance-of-pcor.html