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PCORI Changes Language to Include Integrative, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Providers PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   
Sunday, 06 May 2012

PCORI Changes Language to Include Integrative, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Providers

Summary: The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research institute (PCORI) has listened to public input and made a series of responsive changes to their draft National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda. Included is new language that explicitly includes "integrative healthcare providers" and "complementary and alternative medicine providers" as part of a list of allied health professionals. The inclusion is in the context of "Improving Health Systems" and is associated with "alternative strategies to the composition of health teams." The link and precise language is here. Credit PCORI for their open process and responsiveness. I follow with comments on a value of inclusion.

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Responds, changes, based on public comment
The Board of Governors of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research institute (PCORI) have listened to public input and made a series of responsive changes to their draft Nationla Priorities for Research and Research Agenda. In a publication entitled "Major Themes from Public Comments on the Draft National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda and PCORI Response" the new institute painstakingly itemizes public comments and their actions.  Page 6 of the 7-page document notes that the public "recommends that PCORI study new and expanded roles for allied health professionals." PCORI follows with this formal response:
"PCORI recognizes the diverse health professionals involved in patient centered care. In the Research Agenda, the description of allied health professionals has been expanded to be more inclusive of all of potential members of a health care team." 
PCORI then specifically shares the language changes in the draft plan section on the PCORI priority entitled “Improving Health Systems.” That section will now state that "PCORI is interested in the following topics" (changes are here in bold):
"Research that compares the effectiveness on patient outcomes of a wide range of system level strategies to incorporate alternative, new, and or extended roles for health care providers or other allied health professionals (e.g., pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants, dentists, integrative healthcare providers, complementary and alternative medicine providers, patient navigators, volunteers, etc.) into the healthcare team. Research that compares the effectiveness on patient outcomes of alternative strategies to composition of health care teams through alternative workforce deployment models including care collaboration and team based care approaches."
Other areas where PCORI made changes include additional focus on the patient and patient engagement, team care, care coordination and the role of providers in patient decision-making processes.

Comment
: First, it's
great to see PCORI acting with such conscious responsiveness. Many of these changes would suggest greater openness to whole person-oriented approaches and proposals.

Inside the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC), we have the view that, at this point in time in U.S. health care, if "integrative healthcare providers, complementary and alternative medicine providers" are not explicitly included, as PCORI now does, they are likely yet to be excluded. This need is not ideal health care. It is real politik. ACCAHC made this point in letters to PCORI in August 2011 and oral presentation to the Board of Governors the next month. (I personally dropped the ball on getting ACCAHC's comments in on the draft plan, despite excellent participation of committee members, in part discouraged that the inclusion was not in the original.)

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Ryan Bradley, ND, MPH: a classic PCORI project
Thanks to you who, responding to an Integrator push (
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute draft plan comment period ends March 15: No CAM-IM presently noted) or for other reasons, made such comments in any of PCORI's comment periods. Healthcare writer Elaine Zablocki was among these. We were heard. It is also notable that PCORI includes CAM practitioners as "allied health professionals." More frequently, when CAM is included, allied health is listed and then, distinctly, the apparently non-allied "CAM." Such inclusion is also a conceptual step in the right direction for integrated care.

Recent news on the diabetes front underscores the wisdom of PCORI's change. When Group Health Cooperative allowed patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes to have access to "adjunctive naturopathic care" from a network of naturopathic physicians, the outcomes proved beneficial on an array of fronts. Following up on pilots such as this work, led by Ryan Bradley, ND, MPH, Dan Cherkin, PhD and others, would appear to be rich ground for PCORI funding. (Thanks to Pamela Snider, ND, for alerting me to this change.)


Last Updated ( Sunday, 06 May 2012 )
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