Cultivating Health Improvement

July 20, 2011
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As we grapple with exactly what this health care crisis means to each of us, there is one absolute truth about what most heavily burdens our system: chronic disease.

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and account for the vast majority of health care spending. PFCD is working hard to raise awareness of chronic diseases and their unfortunate consequences and by doing so is rallying allies throughout the country who have a stake in health care reform.

As we grapple with exactly what this health care crisis means to each of us, there is one absolute truth about what most heavily burdens our system: chronic disease.

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and account for the vast majority of health care spending. PFCD is working hard to raise awareness of chronic diseases and their unfortunate consequences and by doing so is rallying allies throughout the country who have a stake in health care reform.

PFCD supports the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)in their efforts to close evidence gaps at all levels of care and uncover the information we need to fight chronic disease.  PCORI has an important opportunity to establish and sustain a program for patient-centered comparative effectiveness research. Patient-centered CER is needed to inform the decisions that doctors, caregivers and patients face every day about their medical care. Nowhere is this more important than in the area of chronic disease, where we face an array of important questions and many evidence gaps across the spectrum.

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“What are the best approaches to preventing chronic disease?”

“What are the optimal screening and treatment strategies?”

“How do we effectively organize and manage patient care to make sure each patient gets the care they need and value?”

PCORI is in a position to help us answer these questions and has already taken notable steps to define a research agenda that is truly oriented around giving patients and providers the information they need, and organizing the delivery system to help them achieve better health outcomes. This work is important, but not always easy.

Because many Americans struggle with more than one chronic disease, a research program that goes broad and deep to uncover the areas of opportunity as well as the obstacles is imperative. By expanding research beyond traditional randomized controlled trials, recommendations can be prioritized to include interventions that can address multiple diseases simultaneously.

In order to efficiently and effectively cultivate health improvement, demanding better information and keeping health care patient-centered is critical.