IT projects grab slice of $102M round of PCORI funding

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has handed out another tranche of funding, bringing its total awards up to $671 million. Among the recipients of the most recent $102 million are projects to improve the use of electronic health records (EHRs) in comparative-effectiveness research (CER) and develop data analysis tools that preserve patient privacy.

A pair of obesity-related projects took home almost 20% of the $102 million, but PCORI also backed some IT initiatives with smaller amounts. The privacy preservation project bagged $1.4 million, which its organizer--Harvard Pilgrim Health Care--will use to develop new tools for data analysis. Over the next three years, the team will work to create tools that can analyze data from patient-centered outcomes research without sharing potentially identifying information about the participants.

As it stands, negotiations and paperwork for confidentiality and data security slow the speed at which the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network can initiate studies. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care hopes to find a technological solution to these challenges. "The advent of several cutting-edge, privacy-preserving analytic and data-sharing methods offers a potential paradigm shift," the organization wrote in its summary of the project.

PCORI awarded another $1 million to the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute to work on the use of EHRs in CER. While EHRs have the potential to show the relative effectiveness of different treatment regimens in the real world, the Kaiser Foundation team thinks advanced analytic methods are needed to make the most of the data.

- read the press release
- here's the data privacy project
- and the EHR summary