GAO Report to Congressional Committees

This month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) submitted a report to Congressional Committees titled “Comparative Effectiveness: Initial Assessment of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute” (PCORI)

PCORI, established in 2010 is a federally funded, nonprofit corporation to improve the quality and relevance of Comparative Effective Research (CER). CER evaluates and compares health outcomes, clinical effectiveness, risks, and benefits for two or more medical treatments, services, or healthcare interventions.

Five PCORI research priorities have been established to:

  • Assess prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options
  • Improve healthcare systems
  • Communicate and disseminate research data
  • Address disparities
  • Accelerate patient-centered outcomes research and methodological research


According the review and the GAO report, PCORI has awarded contracts for research and plans to award additional contracts through 2019. As of October 2014, PCORI has awarded 360 contracts and committed $670.8 million to fund research projects. PCORI expects to commit about $2.6 billion to research contracts out of $3.5 billion in total estimated spending.

Approximately, $106 million has been committed so far for PCORnet, a data research network aimed at improving capacity for conducting CER. PCORI officials expect to spend $271 million on PCORnet through FY 2019. PCORnet officials report that limited amounts of data will become available through PCORnet for researchers after September 2015 with available data increasing over time.

PCORI anticipates having some early results related to its primary outcome measures starting in 2017 after the first CER studies are completed and their findings released. Full evaluation of the results of these outcome measures will not be possible until around 2020.


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