January is a good time to reflect on goal-setting for self-improvement. Here at PCORI, we take the new year as an opportunity to reflect on our efforts to seek evidence that our particular approach to comparative clinical effectiveness research will result in information that helps patients and those who care for them make better-informed health and healthcare decisions.
What to EvaluateTo make any such assessment meaningful, we need clear goals for and appropriate measurements of our progress. Over the past year, we have worked hard to set up a thorough evaluation process to do just that. You can find a detailed summary of the resources we’re using for these evaluation activitieson our website. Because our task is complex, we also offer a handy summary of our evaluation plan so patients, caregivers, clinicians, researchers, and other healthcare stakeholders can easily see what we’re doing.
As you probably know if you’ve followed our work, PCORI funds research differently than other organizations. We include patients and other stakeholders alongside scientists in the review of proposals for funding, and we require meaningful engagement of patients and other stakeholders throughout the planning and conduct of projects we support. We’re confident that this approach will yield information that is relevant and useful for patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other decision makers across the healthcare community and more likely to make its way to those faced with key healthcare decisions.
But we recognize that we need to demonstrate this. Our stakeholders want to know the same things we do: Are our activities effective and efficient? Are they moving us toward our goals? Are the unique aspects of our approach contributing to our effectiveness as a research funder?
How to Assess Our Progress
Our evaluation efforts focus on the progress we’re making in working toward the three overarching goals that are at the heart of PCORI’s strategic plan, which our Board of Governors approved in 2013. These are:
- Substantially increase the quantity, quality, and timeliness of useful, trustworthy information available to support health decisions
- Speed the implementation and use of patient-centered outcomes research evidence
- Influence clinical and healthcare research funded by others to be more patient-centered
To frame our evaluation effort, we collected hundreds of questions from staff and the public about how we conduct our day-to-day work, how we are progressing toward our goals, and ultimately, if and how our "research done differently" will make a difference for patients and public health. From these, we developed our evaluation framework.
To provide a more detailed look at this effort, we’ve posted a web page describing how we evaluate key aspects of our work. Here you can find a full compendium of our evaluation activities and early results on our portfolio, merit review, engagement in research, events, and stakeholder views. As the results from our evaluation efforts come in, we’ll update this page with a list of publications, presentations, and other communications that you can access to see the accumulating evidence on the effectiveness of our activities.
As we carry out our work, we’ll be looking for opportunities to refine our approach to helping improve patient care and outcomes through the research we fund. We hope you’ll follow our efforts and share your thoughts on our approach to funding research, evaluating our work, or tracking our impact.