Researcher Awarded $2M to Train Patients, Use iPods, for Decision-Making

Dec. 17, 2013
Kevin Fiscella, M.D.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) approved funding of $2.056 million for a University of Rochester Medical Center team to study how to reduce disparities and improve empowerment among HIV patients.

The URMC research is one of 82 proposals approved for PCORI funding on December 17 to advance the field of patient-centered comparative effectiveness research and provide patients with information that will help them make better-informed decisions about their care.

Principal Investigator Kevin Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, will lead a team that includes HIV patients, doctors, and HIV organizations to study the impact of an interactive training program for patients.

People with chronic conditions such as HIV should be actively involved in their own care to control the disease and to adhere to recommendations for screenings and immunizations. The program to be tested is a customized personal health record for HIV that includes training sessions on using an iPod to access and manage their own data, coaching prior to doctor visits, and clinician training that supports patient empowerment.

The team expects to show that patients who receive this level of support will improve their ability to use technology to effectively manage their health, medication adherence, and care quality, regardless of race, ethnicity, and education.

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and give people information to help them weigh the effectiveness of their care options,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, M.D., M.P.H. “We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with Dr. Fiscella and his team to share the results.”

The URMC study and the other projects approved for funding by PCORI’s Board of Governors this week were selected from 624 applications submitted to PCORI's highly competitive review process in which patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders joined scientists to evaluate the proposals. All awards are approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

Fiscella, who is a member of PCORI’s Advisory Panel on Addressing Disparities, has served on numerous other national committees related to healthcare disparities, including two for the Institute of Medicine and for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the American Cancer Society, and the National Institutes of Health.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. PCORI has awarded a total of $464.4 million since it began funding CER in 2012.For more information about PCORI funding, visit PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at

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