What Health Care Questions Do You Want Answered by Research?

What are my options? What would work best for me? Those questions are asked every day by individuals in doctor’s offices and hospitals when trying to decide on the course of action for a health condition or disease.

Patients want to know which therapies will work best, given their personal characteristics, conditions and preferences. They may be deciding between medicine or surgery, between traditional therapies or alternatives, or even between treatment and no treatment at all.

Too often, patients do not have reliable, research-based information to make choices that reflect their situations or the outcomes most important to them.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was established to help bridge these gaps by funding research to answer patients’ questions.

“Traditional research simply has not answered many of the questions that matter to patients, such as ‘How will this treatment affect my daily life?’” says PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “In other cases, research results have not been communicated effectively to patients and their caregivers. “No matter the cause, patients suffer when there are gaps in the information available to us.”

PCORI now wants your help to identify which questions to study.

A “Suggest a Research Question” feature on PCORI’s website, www.pcori.org, allows you to submit the specific questions you want the institute to address. PCORI evaluates every question it receives and will fund studies where it thinks it can make a difference by providing patients with more information.

PCORI invites questions about how different prevention, diagnosis and treatment options compare, how disparities can be reduced, and how to improve health care systems and the way health information is communicated.

Here’s an example of a recent question PCORI received: What medical procedures get the best results for back pain among options that include physical therapy, chiropractic, drugs or surgery?

PCORI is dedicated to addressing questions that are important to patients and can help them make more informed decisions. Your input can help the institute understand the needs patients have and the decisions they face.

“PCORI’s approach is to include the patient’s voice in the research we fund,” Selby said. “This is your opportunity to ask the challenging, real-world questions you face with your caregivers and clinicians.”

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