UA Approved for Funding Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

Jan 7, 2014

Dr. Sairam ParthasarathyA research team led by Sairam Parthasarathy, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus, has been approved for a funding award of more than $2 million by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study sleep apnea.

The study is one of 82 proposals approved for PCORI funding to advance the field of patient-centered comparative effectiveness research and provide patients with information that will help them make better-informed decisions about their care.

“Fragmentation of care can lead to poor treatment adherence in patients with chronic medical conditions that  can, in turn, lead to adverse health consequences, poor quality of life and patient dissatisfaction,” said Dr. Parthasarathy.

“We will use sleep apnea – a very common condition that affects 7 to 12 percent of the U.S. population – as an example condition to test the effect of community volunteer engagement, combined with the universal availability of personal cellphones, on the problem of poor care coordination and treatment adherence to the CPAP treatment for sleep apnea. We all need to roll up our sleeves and get engaged in helping our health care needs!” (CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a treatment for people who have breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, that uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open.)

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and give people information to help them weigh the effectiveness of their care options,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with the University of Arizona to share the results.”

The study will focus on improving patient-centered outcomes, health-related quality of life and treatment adherence by embracing community-based volunteers and cellphone technology with a telephone exchange that improves access to health-care providers, technicians and home care companies.

Stakeholders include patients, physicians, researchers, providers, caregivers, product manufacturers, third party-payers, the UA Interprofessional Education and Practice Program (IPEP), the American Sleep Apnea Association and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Parthasarathy will lead the research project at the Arizona Respiratory Center. Other UA members of the team include Stuart Quan, MD, professor emeritus; Stefano Guerra, MD, PhD, MPH, research associate professor of medicine; and Patricia L. Haynes, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry. Collaborators include J. Jason Lundy, PhD, director of the Critical Path (C-Path) Institute in Tucson, and Grant H. Skrepnek, PhD, RPh, associate professor, Department of Pharmacy, University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy.

The UA study and the other projects approved for funding by PCORI’s Board of Governors on Dec. 17 were selected from 624 applications submitted to PCORI’s funding announcements. All were selected through a highly competitive review process in which patients, caregivers and other stakeholders joined scientists to evaluate the proposals. Applications were assessed for scientific merit, how well they will engage patients and other stakeholders and their methodological rigor, among other criteria.

All awards are approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

The UA study joins PCORI’s expanding portfolio, which now includes 279 patient-centered Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) studies and initiatives. PCORI has awarded a total of $464.4 million since it began funding CER in 2012. For more information about PCORI funding, please visit


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit 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 health care decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at

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