Characteristics of Early Recipients of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Funding

Acad Med. 2016 Apr;91(4):491-6. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001115.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is grounded in the goals of increasing access, improving quality, and reducing cost in the U.S. health care system. The ACA established the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to help accomplish these goals through patient-focused research. PCORI has a different charge than its federally supported counterpart, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-to fund research that ultimately helps patients make better-informed health care decisions. The authors examined characteristics of the recipients and settings of the first six rounds of PCORI funding and differentiated PCORI and NIH funding patterns to analyze the extent to which PCORI is accomplishing the goals set out by the ACA. The authors performed a retrospective review of publicly available datasets, supplemented by a short questionnaire to funded PCORI principal investigators (PIs). The authors analyzed PCORI's first six funding cycles (2011-2014) and data on NIH funding patterns (2000-2013) to determine whether PCORI and NIH funding patterns differed by investigator, department, and institution, and whether PCORI had funded research in primary care settings. The authors found that PCORI is funding a more diverse cadre of PIs and biomedical departments than is NIH, but not a greater diversity of institutions, and that less than one-third of PCORI studies involve or are relevant to primary care--the largest patient care platform in the United States. As PCORI looks to be refunded, it is important that research funding is further evaluated and publicly acknowledged to assess whether goals are being achieved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Academies and Institutes / economics*
  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • Research Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Research Support as Topic*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data