WASHINGTON, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two articles in the April 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association outline the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute's vision for a new, methodologically rigorous focus on patients' needs in comparative effectiveness research (CER). Such an approach, along with more actively engaging clinicians and other stakeholders in all aspects of the research process, can improve clinical decision-making and ultimately patient outcomes, PCORI Executive Director Joe V. Selby, MD, MPH, Chief Operating Officer Anne C. Beal, MD, MPH, and Lori Frank, PhD, now Director of Engagement Research at PCORI, write in a perspective in the special JAMA CER theme issue. In a related Special Communication in the same JAMA issue, PCORI's 17-member Methodology Committee discusses the need for rigorous methodological standards and its role in ensuring that PCORI research produces high-integrity information. PCORI "was named to emphasize the critical importance of a patient-centered perspective in conducting" CER, Drs. Selby, Beal and Frank write. PCORI's Board of Governors "determined early on that taking this name seriously, placing patients at the center of CER, and actively engaging clinicians and other stakeholders, was an ideal strategy to ensure that PCORI's research agenda stays focused on practical questions, relevant outcomes and study populations and the possibility that treatment effects may differ across patient populations," they add. The authors also describe PCORI's process for establishing National Priorities for Research and a Research Agenda and what the drafts of those guiding documents, now being revised in response to public input, contain. The draft research agenda provides a preview of the broad-focused research PCORI likely is to support in its first round of primary funding announcements in late May.