1. GAO Seeks to Fill Four Openings on PCORI's Methodology Committee (Nominations Due: April 11), click here to view details on the call for nominations, and here for additional details on the PCORI Methodology Committee.
2. The Pink Sheet Daily: MedPAC Seeks Stakeholder Input On Medicare "Least Costly Alternative" Policy, click here to read the article (subscription required).
3. PCORI Blog: Work in Progress: Pilot Project Awardees Share Lessons Learned and Challenges, click here for the full post.
4. PCORI Names Jean Slutsky Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer, click here to view the press release.
5. PCORI Seeks Patients to Join the ‘PCOR Partner List’ for CER Studies, click here for information on how to become a patient partner.
6. The Incidental Economist: Why Comparative Effectiveness Is Important, Checklist Edition, click here for the full article.
7. Psychology Today: You Say Efficacious, I Say Effective: How Best to Feel Well, click here for the full posting.
8. Deseret News: From Doctors to Bureaucrats: A Troubling Transformation, click here for the full article.
9. Washington Post: Relative Value Health Care: Some Obstacles, click here for the full article.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a solicitation for nominees to apply to fill four positions on the Methodology Committee of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Pursuant to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), appointees to the 17-member Committee are to be “experts in their scientific field, such as health services research, clinical research, comparative clinical effectiveness research, biostatistics, genomics, and research methodologies,” in addition to stakeholders with expertise in this area. Alongside these appointed members, the Directors of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (or their designees) serve as Committee members. Nominations are due by Friday, April 11. Click here to view details on the call for nominations, and here for additional details on the PCORI Methodology Committee.
2. The Pink Sheet Daily: MedPAC Seeks Stakeholder Input On Medicare "Least Costly Alternative" Policy
Cathy Kelly reports in The Pink Sheet Daily, “The [Medicare Payment Advisory Panel] addressed the possibility of reviving the least costly alternative (LCA) policy at its March 6 meeting as part of a discussion on improving the value of Medicare spending by linking payment policies to comparative effectiveness data… Under LCA, Medicare set the payment rate for a group of drugs treating the same condition at the level of the lowest-cost option… The commission is not considering a formal recommendation on LCA at this point, but during the March 6 meeting a number of commissioners expressed support for a policy like LCA that uses cost-sharing incentives to drive patients to compare the value of available treatments. However, many suggested such an approach may work best if tailored to specific situations and also acknowledged it would be a heavy lift to get Congress to support the policy. Comments by some members of the commission suggested there is an opportunity for pharmaceutical industry stakeholders to help frame the discussion of Medicare payment approaches like LCA.” Click here to read the article (subscription required).
3. PCORI Blog: Work in Progress: Pilot Project Awardees Share Lessons Learned and Challenges
Jason Gerson and Alison Rein wrote an entry for The PCORI Blog last week where they reported, “In early March, we convened the first gathering of our Pilot Project awardees, as well as many of the patients and other stakeholders who are partners in these studies... Several participants noted that their projects have enabled them to start building this infrastructure, often fundamentally altering the research culture at their respective host institutions.” Click here for the full post.
4. PCORI Names Jean Slutsky Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer
In a press release last week, PCORI’s Executive Director Joe Selby announced Jean Slutsky as the new Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer to replace the outgoing Anne C. Beal. “’Jean Slutsky is a natural fit for this joint appointment that brings the science of dissemination together with the practice of engagement, dissemination and implementation,’ said PCORI’s Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. ‘She has the breadth and depth of expertise to lead the greater integration of communication and dissemination science with our robust, ongoing efforts to engage those who will use the results of studies we’ve funded. I’m looking forward to working with her as we prepare to share a wealth of new research findings.’” Click here to view the press release.
5. PCORI Seeks Patients to Join the ‘PCOR Partner List’ for CER Studies
Last week, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) released a call for patients to join the PCOR Partner List to join with researchers for patient-centered comparative effectiveness research studies. The agency is seeking patients, clinicians, policymakers, payers and “other healthcare stakeholder interested in partnering with applicants for PCORI-funded research.” The press release notes that, “the goal of the PCOR Partner List is to compile the names, contact information, and areas of interest of patients and other non-researcher stakeholders who would like to work with a researcher and contribute to a PCORI-funded research project. Such partnerships can take many forms, from consulting as an expert on a particular subject matter to being an integral member of the team that develops and conducts the study. Partnership does not mean being a study participant in a clinical research trial or project.” Click here for information on how to become a patient partner.
In addition to the press release, Celeste Brown and Sue Sheridan gave practical advice for stakeholders in the PCORI Blog. “To be added to the PCOR Partner List, patients and other stakeholders indicate interest on our website. Then, we email them a link to a short form that asks about their particular interests and experiences. The PCORI Engagement Team then follows up by providing the names and contact information for potential partners to researchers applying for appropriate PCORI research funding opportunities.” Click here to view the blog post. Additionally, PCORI Investigators Dee Burton and Steven Levine discussed how patient involvement is an essential element to developing their research project in a posted video. Click here to view the video.
6. The Incidental Economist: Why Comparative Effectiveness Is Important, Checklist Edition
In a nod to compulsive list makers throughout the research realm, Aaron Carroll of The Incidental Economist noted how the instrument can be burdensome in the beginning, yet overall life-saving. “As [Atul Gawande] pointed out, evidence exists that checklists work. But what is less well known is how much effort must be applied to make them work. That's where comparative effectiveness and pragmatic trials can be useful. We shouldn't ignore their usefulness. They are necessary to make our health care system work better.” Click here for the full article.
7. Psychology Today: You Say Efficacious, I Say Effective: How Best to Feel Well
There was a blog published early last week by Mark Borigini in Psychology Today regarding the variety of outcomes experienced by patients that aren’t always present in the results of clinical trials. “Health care providers on the front line have often been frustrated by randomized controlled studies, as patients and their doctors have come to realize that the clinical trials upon which drug approval is based often do not seem to reflect the real world. Hence, the United States has devoted considerable resources to comparative effectiveness research, as I discussed in a prior blog. It is hoped that comparative effectiveness research will assist patients, physicians and policy makers to make health care decisions that improve the medical outcomes of individuals and populations. Effectiveness studies will be the key means of making conclusions that impact the every-day world of patient-doctor interaction.” Click here for the full posting.
8. Deseret News: From Doctors to Bureaucrats: A Troubling Transformation
Jeff Singer of the Deseret News paints a picture of what medicine in the US could become if patient diversity becomes an afterthought in clinical protocols. “Using so-called ‘evidence-based medicine,’ CMS instituted protocols based on statistically generalized — rather than individualized — outcomes in large population groups. It is easy to standardize treatment protocols. It is impossible to standardize individual patients. Patients should worry about standardized clinical models that ignore the vital nuances of their conditions.” Click here for the full article.
9. Washington Post: Relative Value Health Care: Some Obstacles
In a follow up to several health insurance related articles that Russell Korobkin of The Washington Post has published, the reporter noted the strengths and weaknesses of various aspects of comparative effectiveness research. “By combining cost data with comparative effectiveness data, research institute[s] could provide the relative value ratings needed to facilitate a [relative value health insurance (RVHI)] market. Although the health-care law prohibits the government from using the results of CER as the basis for insurance coverage mandates – quite clearly a response to fears of government ‘death panels’ – there is nothing in the law that prohibits the government from providing cost effectiveness ratings that private parties could then use as the basis for insurance contracts.” Click here for the full article.