PCORI announces $6.5 million in grants to implement ‘shared decision making’

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will release of $6.5 million in grant funding to organizations willing to implement shared decision making strategies for patients and care providers. According to the institute, the funding is designed to address concerns by doctors and other care providers that implementing the programs will cost too much time or “interfere with their routine clinical workflow.”

Shared decision making, research around which PCORI has provided nearly $200 million in funding, is an umbrella term for strategies that help patients better understand their treatment options in a given healthcare situation, particularly when the right choice is not clear or could be impacted by a patient’s preferences.

“PCORI recognizes that for many clinical situations, patients and clinicians need to work together to consider all available treatment options, informed by the patients’ preferences,” PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby said in a statement. “For a variety of reasons, shared decision making isn’t as widely used in practice as it should be.”

Examples of the research conducted includes a $1.6 million research project out of the Mayo Clinic, highlighted by PCORI in January of this year, looking at the implementation of “Chest Pain Choice.” The materials were developed in light of concerns that patients at a low-risk for heart attacks who reported chest pain in an emergency room were suffering unnecessary anxiety, as well as possibly increasing healthcare costs, after being transferred to the hospital for further testing. Another $1.4 million project from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center looked at the development of a video to help heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 77 understand the risks and benefits of the CT lung cancer screenings, which were recently authorized by Medicare.

Grants are currently available only to those institutions that have served as past recipients of PCORI grants for shared decision making project, which they have completed, or new applicants working closely with one of those institutions to implement one of the research-based strategies. Clinicians have until October 2 of this year to submit their letters of intent for consideration, with an implementation start date of October 2018, at the earliest.

PCORI said it had funded $164 million in research on shared decision making projects as of September 2016. The initial funding comes with a commitment to authorize another $6.5 million to $8 million per cycle, with up to two cycles per year, for continued implementation.