Dr. John Wong of Tufts Medical Center Receives $1 Million PCORI Award

Boston, Oct. 3, 2013 -– John B. Wong, MD, Chief of the Division of Clinical Decision Making at Tufts Medical Center, has been approved to receive a research award of more than $1 million over three years from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to fund his work on improving comparative effectiveness research (CER) methods. The study is part of a portfolio of projects that will advance the field of patient-centered CER and provide patients with information that will help them make better-informed decisions about their care. Wong’s research proposal was among only 14% of applications selected by PCORI to receive funding.

Wong’s project, “Integrating Causal Inference, Evidence Synthesis, and Research Prioritization Methods,” will focus on combining causal inference (how it is determined whether or not something is beneficial), meta-analysis (how evidence is combined) and research prioritization (how it is decided what research should be conducted) in the evaluation of outcomes important to patients. He and his colleagues will examine revascularization for chronic stable angina with stents and bypass surgery versus medical therapy; his findings could have a significant impact on improving patient outcomes and on dictating how researchers will work with patients and other stakeholders.

“With this study, we are seeking to inform decision making and outcomes that matter to real people in the real world,” said Wong. “Our long-term objective is to establish the benefits and harms of therapeutic interventions based on observational studies and randomized clinical trials, so that we can better evaluate and enhance current methodologies to improve CER and provide physicians and patients with the evidence they need to make the right choices for individualized care.”

“Dr. Wong’s project was selected for PCORI funding, not only for its scientific merit, but also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and ultimately help patients, and those who care for them, make more fully informed decisions about their care,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “The project reflects PCORI’s commitment to support patient-centered comparative effectiveness research, a new approach to health research that emphasizes the inclusion of patients and caregivers at all stages of the study process. We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with Tufts Medical Center to share the results.”

Wong’s study is one of 71 projects totaling more than $114 million approved for funding by PCORI’s Board of Governors this September. The awards were a mix of projects that included the first made to studies specifically targeting improvement of research methods. All were selected through a highly competitive review process in which scientists, patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders helped to evaluate more than 570 proposals that responded to five PCORI funding announcements.

Proposals were evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, how well they engage patients and other stakeholders, their methodological rigor, and how well they fit within PCORI’s national research priorities. All awards were approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

The awards are part of PCORI’s latest round of primary research funding.  Through previous funding cycles, including a round of pilot projects, and other initiatives, PCORI has committed a total of $304 million since 2012 to support patient-centered comparative effectiveness research.

For more information about PCORI funding, visit http://pcori.org/funding-opportunities.