PCOR & CER defined

What is Patient-centered Outcomes Research (PCOR)?

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) helps people and their caregivers communicate and make informed healthcare decisions, allowing their voices to be heard in assessing the value of healthcare options. This research answers patient-centered questions, such as:

  1. “Given my personal characteristics, conditions, and preferences, what should I expect will happen to me?”
  2. “What are my options, and what are the potential benefits and harms of those options?”
  3. “What can I do to improve the outcomes that are most important to me?”
  4. “How can clinicians and the care delivery systems they work in help me make the best decisions about my health and health care?”

To answer these questions, PCOR:

  • Assesses the benefits and harms of preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, palliative, or health delivery system interventions to inform decision making, highlighting comparisons and outcomes that matter to people;
  • Is inclusive of an individual’s preferences, autonomy, and needs, focusing on outcomes that people notice and care about such as survival, function, symptoms, and health-related quality of life;
  • Incorporates a wide variety of settings and diversity of participants to address individual differences and barriers to implementation and dissemination; and
  • Investigates (or may investigate) optimizing outcomes while addressing burden to individuals, availability of services, technology, and personnel, and other stakeholder perspectives.
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(from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, http://www.pcori.org/research-results/patient-centered-outcomes-research)

What is Community-Engaged Research (CER)?

There is a growing recognition that traditional research approaches, while appropriate for many research questions, have failed to solve complex health disparities.  Health problems exist within the context of people’s lives, and the explanations will likely be found in the messy complexity of real life. A community-engaged research approach can enable researchers to conduct research and produce results which may be directly translated to improve human health.   

Community-engaged research is a framework or approach for conducting research, not a methodology in and of itself.  It is characterized by the principles that guide the research (see Principles of Community-Engaged Research) and the relationships between the communities and academic researchers.  Community-engaged research requires partnership development, cooperation and negotiation, and commitment to addressing local health issues.  Keep in mind that community engagement exists on a continuum, with much variation in the strength and intensity of the community-academic collaboration.  This varies by research objective, project, participants, community history and local politics, among others.  Each partnership will develop its own way of working together.  At the core of all community-engaged research, however, is the understanding that the community will be involved in a meaningful way.
(from the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects, University of South Carolina, http://oprs.usc.edu/files/2013/01/Frequently_Asked_Questions_about_Community-Engaged_Research.pdf)