March 15, 2018: New Resource for Understanding Ethical and Regulatory Architecture of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Data

Using patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) data requires balancing the need for sufficient private health information to support meaningful research with the need to protect patient privacy and autonomy. In support of this dual goal, The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has just released a document that provides a collection of tools and resources aimed at helping a broad audience of stakeholders understand the ethical and regulatory requirements related to collecting, using, sharing, and disclosing PCOR data.

“An architecture is necessary to ensure patient privacy is protected and health information is appropriately secured during collection, access, use, and disclosure as required by law, regulation, and/or policy.” —Legal and Ethical Architecture for PCOR Data

PCOR data will help expand the evidence base for therapies and improve health outcomes for individual patients. The document is divided into 5 chapters:

Chapter 1: Overview of Legal and Ethical Architecture for PCOR Data provides background for the project and an overview of key ethical and regulatory requirements.

Chapter 2: Legal and Ethical Significance of Data for PCOR describes fundamental concepts for organizing data into categories such that legal and ethical frameworks can be applied. The chapter includes key considerations and types of data relevant to PCOR, such as clinical, administrative, patient-generated, etc.

Chapter 3: Linking Legal and Ethical Requirements to PCOR Data organizes the relevant legal provisions according to the key data considerations outlined in Chapter 2: identifiability, subject, source, access and use/purpose, consent/authorization, security, and legal status.

Chapter 4: Framework for Navigating Legal and Ethical Requirements for PCOR is designed as a decision tool that builds on the key data considerations described in Chapters 2 and 3. The goal of this chapter is to help researchers determine whether laws apply to particular data and if so, what requirements to attach to their collection and use.

Chapter 5: Mapping Research Flows to Legal Requirements identifies 6 hypothetical use cases, identifies decision trigger points, and maps representative data flows to the relevant legal requirements.

Read the full document: Legal and Ethical Architecture for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Data (“Architecture”)

March 14, 2018: Public Input on Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Due April 1

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is requesting information to help inform a competition in the fall to develop and implement user-friendly technical tools for the collection of patient-reported outcome (PRO) data. The AHRQ is interested in learning about experiences with physical function PRO measures that are currently in use in ambulatory care settings, including primary and secondary care, as well as the methods used to collect these data. The information will be used to select physical function measures for the competition, which aims to bolster collection and integration of PRO data in the electronic health record by developing and piloting new, user-friendly tools. Responses can be emailed to and are due April 1, 2018.

March 7, 2018: FDA Offers Workshop on Submitting Draft Guidance on Patient Experience Data

The FDA is conducting a public workshop on Monday, March 19, to obtain input from stakeholders—including patients, patient advocates, academic and medical researchers, expert practitioners, drug developers, and other interested persons—to inform the drafting of a patient-focused drug development guidance as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. Workshop attendees will discuss considerations for development and submission of a proposed draft guidance regarding patient experience data submitted by an external stakeholder. The guidance is intended to help stakeholders continue progress in developing new medicines to respond to patient’s needs.

Registration for the event, either in person or via a live webcast, ends March 12. More meeting details, including background materials, will be posted by FDA as available.

February 28, 2018: New Meeting Summary Examines How to Integrate Patient‐Reported Health Data for Pragmatic Research

A recently released summary from the ADAPTABLE Roundtable Meeting explores ways to better understand the sets of circumstances and considerations that could guide when and how to gather and integrate patient-reported health data with other data sources in pragmatic trials.

For outcomes that represent subjective experiences, such as pain, symptoms, and physical functioning, the patient is the unique and privileged source of information. Other patient-reported health data may not have a clear source of truth, such as co-morbidities and hospitalizations. In such cases, patient-reported health data may supplement, contradict, or agree with EHR and claims data. For example, medication data reported by patients might be a more accurate reflection of what patients are actually taking than medication data in the EHR, especially for over-the-counter medications.

Patient-reported health data come from various sources and can be feasibly collected in the conduct of a pragmatic clinical trial, but the optimal approaches for capturing and analyzing these data are unclear. Questions include how to integrate this information with other data collected as part of a study, including data from the EHR.

To better understand patient-reported health data and how to use them in pragmatic trials, 18 experts from 8 institutions convened at the roundtable meeting, coming from a wide variety of backgrounds including biostatistics, epidemiology, oncology, nursing, psychiatry, health policy, and regulation. Representatives from the NIH Collaboratory included Drs. Lesley Curtis and Rachel Richesson from the EHR Core and Dr. Kevin Weinfurt from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Core.

In addition to the meeting summary, two white papers are forthcoming. For more information about using patient-reported data in pragmatic trials, see the Living Textbook Chapter on Endpoints and Outcomes.

This effort was funded by Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through a supplement provided to the NIH Collaboratory Coordinating Center.

January 22, 2018: AHRQ Announces Competition to Develop Patient-Reported Outcomes Tools

Patient-reported outcome (PRO) data are critical for informing patient-centered care and patient-centered outcomes research, although they are not commonly collected in routine care, and are often not available for use in clinical care or research. To counter this problem, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced an upcoming competition to develop tools to collect and integrate PRO data in electronic health records and other health IT products. During this multi-phase Challenge Competition in the fall of 2018, developers will be asked to create user-friendly application programming interfaces (APIs) and other tools that can be used to collect physical function data in ambulatory care settings based on specifications provided by AHRQ. The tools will enable PRO data to be shared more easily and regularly with clinicians and researchers.

January 17, 2018: The “All of Us” Research Program Asks for Research Ideas

The groundbreaking “All of Us” research program, which aims to enroll and track more than a million people, is asking prospective researchers, community organizations, and citizen scientists for suggestions regarding potential research questions. Ideas can be submitted through a special research page and are due by February 23, 2018. At a Research Priorities Workshop in March 2018, meeting attendees will use the input to set research priorities that will drive the development of the All of Us research platform and associated tools.

New White Paper from Collaboratory PRO Core on the Impact of Patient-Reported Outcomes on Clinical Practice

Patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures are often used in pragmatic clinical trials to assess endpoints that are meaningful to stakeholders. These measures may also support patient care, although there is mixed evidence about effects of PROs on (1) improved patient-provider communication, clinical decision-making, and patient satisfaction; (2) enhanced patient outcomes; and (3) helped ensure better quality of care from a healthcare systems perspective. In a new white paper from the Collaboratory Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO) Core, the available evidence in the literature is examined to determine when PROs have the potential to provide added value to patient care.

The full text of the white paper can be found here: Impact of Patient-Reported Outcomes on Clinical Practice_V1.0

Blueprint for Establishing a National Research Cohort Moves Forward

On September 17, the Precision Medicine Initiative Working Group presented to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins a detailed design framework to advance the creation of a national, large-scale research cohort for developing more effective treatments tailored to individuals. The framework makes recommendations on cohort assembly, participant engagement, data, biological specimens, policy, and governance. The recommendations are based on a set of high-value scientific opportunities that were identified by the working group following extensive stakeholder engagement.

The NIH plans to move quickly to build the infrastructure so that participants can begin enrolling in the cohort in 2016, with a goal of enrolling at least 1 million participants in 3 to 4 years. Visit the NIH News & Events website for more details.

PCORnet Posts Aspirin Study Protocol for Public Review and Comment

PCORnetThe National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet) has recently made a draft protocol for its first randomized clinical trial available for stakeholder review. Researchers, clinicians, patients and the public are all invited to read the current draft of the study protocol and provide comments and feedback.

The ADAPTABLE Study (PDF), which will investigate whether lower- or higher-dose aspirin is better for preventing heart attack and stroke in patients at risk for heart disease, is PCORnet’s first randomized pragmatic clinical trial. Designed to leverage PCORnet’s Clinical Data Research Networks (CDRNs) and Patient-Powered Research Networks (PPRNs), the trial will serve as twofold purpose: answering a clinical question of direct importance for patients, families, and healthcare providers, and serving as a demonstration of PCORnet’s capabilities in conducting clinical research on a national scale.

Links to the proposed study protocol, a survey tool for capturing feedback, and other information about ADAPTABLE Study, including press releases, fact sheets, and infographics, are available at the link below:

ADAPTABLE: The Aspirin Study

Follow PCORnet on Twitter @PCORnetwork for updates on the ADAPTABLE #ClinicalTrial

In the News: Increase in Use of Personal Health Data

An explosion in the collection of personal data is fostering concerns about the extent to which health information is accessed—and about the privacy and confidentiality of this information. Two recent National Public Radio stories highlight a few of the burgeoning uses of these abundant data.

In the first, an insurer uses personal data to predict who will get sick so it can identify patients at highest risk for hospital admission, or readmission, and then provide them with personal health coaches. The coordinated care given to patients by the coaches (for example, arranging a visiting nurse or streamlining appointments) has been shown to improve hospitalization rates. The insurer says it follows federal health privacy guidelines for anonymity and uses the information to better serve its members.

The second story explains that results of online health searches aren’t always confidential, and data brokers are tracking information and selling it to interested parties. The author notes that data gathered on the Web are, for the most part, unregulated. Both stories raise questions about privacy and confidentiality of health information and how to best protect it.

Pragmatic clinical trials also seek to use personal health data to answer important questions on the risks, benefits, and burdens of therapeutic interventions. In a blog post in Health Affairs, Joe Selby, executive director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), underscores the need for trust, support, and active engagement of patients when involving them in health data research, even with privacy protections in place. PCORI has launched the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet) as a means of harnessing large clinical data sets to study the comparative effectiveness of treatments, and a central tenet of the network is that patients, clinicians, and healthcare systems should be actively involved in the governance of the use of health information.

Read the full articles

From NPR: Insurer Uses Personal Data To Predict Who Will Get Sick
From NPR: Online Health Searches Aren't Always Confidential
From Health Affairs: Advancing the Use of Health Data in Research With PCORnet