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OHSU, ORPRN receive $8 million to help people with serious illnesses get the care they want

A collaboration with U.S. and Canadian-based networks of primary care practices, study will compare impacts of clinician-focused and team-based approaches to advance care planning
young woman with her arms around her mother. mother has cancer and her head is covered with a hat.
(Getty Images)

People with serious illnesses can experience health care that is at odds with their personal goals and preferences. To help avoid this, researchers at OHSU, in Portland, Oregon, and the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network have been awarded $8 million by The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to develop strategies that better align health care with patient preferences through advance care planning.

The four-year study is one of seven PCORI-funded projects across the nation focused on palliative care approaches designed to improve quality of life, reduce caregiver burden and promote multidisciplinary health care coordination. Researchers will design two advance care planning models and test them in primary care practices that are part of seven Meta-network Learning and Research Center practice-based research networks across the U.S. and Canada.

“This collaboration represents an opportunity to disseminate health care knowledge and best practices across borders,” said LJ Fagnan, M.D., director of ORPRN and the Meta-LARC consortium. “The results will address the important care needs of a priority and vulnerable population.”

The first model to be assessed features direct health care strategy development between a primary care clinician and the patient. The second model will focus on a team-based approach, wherein care managers, social workers and community health workers share responsibility for developing a plan with the patient.

“We know that advance care planning can help seriously ill patients achieve their goals, which in turn, improves overall quality of life. However, we need to determine the most effective approach to planning,” said Annette Totten, Ph.D., M.P.A., assistant professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology, OHSU School of Medicine.

Totten and France Légaré, M.D., Ph.D., of Centre hospitalier universitaire de Quebec, will serve as principal investigators of the project. Project results are expected in 2021.

This award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. For more information about PCORI’s funding, visit 


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