Boulware, GIM Awarded $5.6 Million from PCORI

The division of General Internal Medicine has been approved for a $5.6 million funding award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study how patient-centered health system interventions can help patients make supported, informed decisions about kidney failure treatments.

“This study will help us understand how we can improve health care delivery to address several needs patients and their families have as patients’ kidney disease progresses toward kidney failure,” said L. Ebony Boulware, MD, MPH, division chief of the division of General Internal Medicine.

The awarded research study, “Putting Patients at the Center of Kidney Care Transitions,” will measure the effectiveness of comprehensive patient-centered interventions to improve patients’ kidney disease care. The study will develop new electronic health record tools, a disease registry, patient navigation, and shared and informed decision-making to improve care.

Boulware will lead the study, which will be conducted by a consortium of patients, caregivers, health care providers, and researchers at Duke, Johns Hopkins, and Geisinger Health System.

Kidney failure affects more than 115,000 U.S. adults every year. Patients who develop this condition must choose from a variety of treatments, such as dialysis or a kidney transplant, each of which has advantages and disadvantages that may vary depending on the individual. Unfortunately, kidney failure often occurs before patients are aware of the extent of their illness, forcing them to quickly make decisions with lifelong consequences without being fully prepared or able to make informed decisions.

The study will employ a new care strategy to help patients understand their risks of kidney failure, understand their treatment options, obtain needed support, and choose treatments that are aligned with their personal values. In a randomized controlled trial, researchers will measure the effectiveness on the new care strategy on patients’ outcomes.

The study is one of 46 proposals that PCORI approved for funding on Tuesday, April 21, to advance the field of comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) and provide patients, healthcare providers, and other clinical decision makers with information that will help them make better informed choices. Applications were assessed for scientific merit, how well they will engage patients and other stakeholders, and their methodological rigor, among other criteria.

PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization, authorized by Congress in 2010, to fund comparative clinical effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information 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.

PCORI has approved $854 million to support 399 research studies and initiatives since it began funding research in 2012. For more information about PCORI funding, visit

Visit the PREPARE NOW Kidney Study website.