Planetree Awarded Funding to Educate Patient and Family Partners about Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

Planetree Awarded Funding to Educate Patient and Family Partners about Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
By Jill Harrison, PhD, Planetree Experience Advisor

PFE ImageToday, partnerships with patients and family are at the forefront of healthcare quality improvement efforts. Accrediting bodies are incorporating standards on how organizations partner with healthcare consumers. Legislation has been enacted, in some states, requiring hospitals to have patient and family advisory councils (PFACs) and established institutions, like the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), CMS, the American Hospital Association and others have embraced partnerships with patients as core to their improvement agendas. Healthcare organizations nationwide are using PFACs as a foundational structure to engage patients and family members as partners in quality and process improvement, strategic planning, hiring and evaluation, staff training and more to promote community building and align the organization’s strategic priorities with what matters most to patients. Despite this increasing engagement with PFACs, little is known about how these groups receive or make use of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) to inform their understanding, decision making, and recommendations to the healthcare organizations they advise.

After proposing a solution to this knowledge gap, Planetree was recently selected for an Engagement Award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to collect evidence about how PFACs engage with PCOR, including any facilitators and barriers to engagement. Using this baseline knowledge about engagement, Planetree will co-develop a publically available manual, developed by PFACs for PFACs, to educate PFACs about PCOR. The manual, which will be available on Planetree’s website ( will become available during October 2017 as part of Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month.

In addition to engaging with PFAC partners on the project, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and National Quality Forum (NQF) will assist Planetree with dissemination of the manual through their websites and social media channels. This important project also brings together other likeminded organizations, such as the Institute for Patient and Family-Centered Care and Health Care for All, both PCORI Engagement Award recipients in their own right, to contribute case studies to the manual.

Jill Harrison, PhD, Director of Research at Planetree, will lead the two-year project which includes participation from twenty PFAC partners from a variety of healthcare organizations nationwide. The project is part of a portfolio of projects approved for PCORI funding to help develop a skilled community of patients and other stakeholders from across the entire healthcare enterprise and to involve them meaningfully in every aspect of PCORI’s work.

“This project was selected for Engagement Award funding not only for its commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to increase the usefulness and trustworthiness of the information we produce and facilitate its dissemination and uptake,” said Jean Slutsky, PCORI’s Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer. “We look forward to following the project’s progress and working with Planetree to share the results.”

Planetree’s project and the other projects approved for funding by the PCORI Engagement Award Program were selected through a highly competitive review process in which applications were assessed for their ability to meet PCORI’s engagement goals and objectives, as well as program criteria. For more information about PCORI’s funding to support engagement efforts, visit

PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. Planetree’s project aims to build our knowledge of how PFACs receive and make use of PCOR and to co-develop a tool with PFACs that will support their awareness and use of PCOR in the future.

For more information about Planetree’s project, please contact Jill Harrison, PhD, at