Project HealthDesign Comments on PCORI Draft National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda
Patricia Flatley Brennan, Ph.D., R.N., Project HealthDesign National Program Director
Editor’s note: This post is third in a series on patient engagement. Many of our health policy comments, including the one below, deal with patient engagement and patient-centered approaches to health and health care.
I appreciate the opportunity to provide comments on PCORI’s “Draft National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda” (Draft National Priorities), published January 23, 2012. I serve as director of Project HealthDesign, a national program of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio. Through Project HealthDesign, I have come to realize that being “patient-centered” means engaging patients in all parts of the care process, from designing and selecting treatment approaches, to determining relevant indicators of success, to evaluation of the desirability and achievement of the outcomes obtained. Although many groups understand “patient-centered” to mean that patients are the targets or recipients of health care, Project HealthDesign promotes a vision in which “patient-centered” means that patients are involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of care.
The Draft National Priorities addresses patient needs and preferences, and also focuses on engaging patients in identifying areas for further research. However, we believe patients have a lot more to offer than simply providing input into research priorities. Early and frequent engagement of patients and their caregivers – from characterizing a problem all the way through the process of addressing and solving it – is the hallmark of patient-centered care. Patient-centered care requires more than a one-time engagement of patients; it requires systematic, deliberate and ongoing engagement of patients in dialogue about priorities, clinical investments and therapeutic strategies.
We challenge PCORI to create effective research models that engage patients, garner patient participation across the care continuum, and provide meaningful indicators of the patient-centeredness of the care provided. PCORI must take the lead in determining the extent to which patient-centered care improves the lives and well-being of individuals and/or results in a more efficient and effective health care delivery system.
Specifically in regard to priority 3, part D (page 19), I present Project HealthDesign as an effective case study for what an “innovative approach” might look like. Following a design-demonstrate-evaluate process, Project HealthDesign’s five current initiatives are working with more than 135 patients with various chronic diseases. Because we engaged teams who share a common focus on patient-centeredness but are addressing different clinical care problems, each team has been able to leverage findings from the other teams.
Through these linked grants, the teams have equipped their patient participants to track, review and share with their care providers “observations of daily living,” or ODLs. Five teams are engaged in evaluating the impact of sharing ODLs on patients’ care and care outcomes. These ODLs are patient-generated, can range from information about an individual’s pain or energy levels to truly unique observations about a patient mood state, and may serve as another class of patient-centered outcomes. Reports resulting from this data help patients and their caregivers take action to improve the patient’s day-to-day health outside of the clinical setting. These reports also help to improve the quality of clinical visits and provide clinicians a clearer view of the patient’s daily life and health. For more information about our work, please contact me directly or visit projecthealthdesign.org.
This comment was submitted to PCORI in response to its “Draft National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda.” To learn more about PCORI, please visit pcori.org.
Read more health policy comments from Project HealthDesign.