Dr. Orszag reveals in his critique of PCORI the very conceit the Institute was designed to avoid – a research agenda designed by “the experts” to cut costs, instead of an agenda shaped by patients and doctors to improve care. Rather than pursue a research agenda as defined by an insular group of experts in Washington, PCORI was set up to engage patients, caregivers and the publicly directly, and give them a real voice in decision-making, in order to ensure that the Institute was studying the questions that matter most.
It also should be noted that PCORI is devoting considerable resources to building sustainable research infrastructure that, when built, will support research across the full spectrum of interventions – tests, treatments, and health care management and delivery.
Can PCORI do a better job engaging patients and caregivers to identify specific research topics? Absolutely. Without patient input, it will be difficult to define an optimal research agenda. But just because PCORI isn’t focusing on the topics that “the experts” believe are important doesn’t mean that the Institute is “falling down on the job.”