Share this article on:

Primary Care Research in the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s Portfolio

Selby, Joe V. MD, MPH; Slutsky, Jean R. PA, MSPH

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001116

In their article in this issue, Mazur and colleagues analyze the characteristics of early recipients of funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Mazur and colleagues note correctly that PCORI has a unique purpose and mission and suggest that it should therefore have a distinct portfolio of researchers and departments when compared with other funders such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Responding on behalf of PCORI, the authors of this Commentary agree with the characterization of PCORI’s mission as distinct from that of NIH and others. They agree too that data found on PCORI’s Web site demonstrate that PCORI’s portfolio of researchers and departments is more diverse and more heavily populated with clinician researchers, as would be expected. The authors take issue with Mazur and colleagues’ suggestion that because half of clinical visits occur within primary care settings, half of PCORI’s funded research should be based in primary care departments. PCORI’s portfolio reflects what patients and others tell PCORI are the critical questions. Many of these do, in fact, occur with more complex conditions in specialty care. The authors question whether the research of primary care departments is too narrowly focused and whether it sufficiently considers study of these complex conditions. Research on more complex conditions including heart failure, coronary artery disease, and multiple comorbid conditions could be highly valuable when approached from the primary care perspective, where many of the comparative effectiveness questions first arise.

J.V. Selby is executive director, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Washington, DC.

J.R. Slutsky is chief engagement and dissemination officer and program director for communication and dissemination Research, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Washington, DC.

Editor’s Note: This New Conversations contribution is part of the journal’s ongoing conversation on the present and future impacts of current health care reform efforts on medical education, health care delivery, and research at academic health centers, and the effects such reforms might have on the overall health of communities.

This is a Commentary on Mazur S, Bazemore A, and Merenstein D. Characteristics of Early Recipients of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Funding. Acad Med. 2016;91:491–496.

To read other New Conversations pieces and to contribute, browse the New Conversations collection on the journal’s Web site (, follow the discussion on AM Rounds ( and Twitter (@AcadMedJournal using #AcMedConversations), and submit manuscripts using the article type “New Conversations” (see Dr. Sklar’s January 2015 editorial for submission instructions and for more information about this feature).

Funding/Support: The authors are supported by PCORI.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.

Correspondence should be addressed to Joe V. Selby, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, 1828 L St NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20037; e-mail:

© 2016 by the Association of American Medical Colleges