University of Washington Center on Outcomes Research in Rehabilitation (PI: Dagmar Amtmann, PhD) Approved for $500,000 Research Funding Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

A research team at University of Washington has been approved for over a half a million dollar funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to develop PROMIS pain catastrophizing and pain self-efficacy item banks. The study is one of 46 proposals PCORI approved for funding on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 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.

Dagmar Amtmann, PhD, research associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine will lead the research project. The study will use modern psychometric methods, including Item Response Theory to develop item bank for measuring pain catastrophizing and pain self-efficacy. Measuring these pain-related constructs is important for pain research and clinical practice. The patient-centered and methodologically rigorous PROMIS instrument development process will be used. People with chronic pain, clinicians who treat them and researchers who study chronic pain treatments will be involved at every step of the development process which results in clinically relevant instruments that are meaningful to individuals living with chronic pain. These new item banks—patient-centered, brief, but psychometrically sound—will meet the requirements for inclusion in clinical trials and can be administered as brief paper and pencil instruments or by computerized adaptive testing (CAT).

The award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract to University of Washington.

"Chronic pain can result in excessive diagnostic tests, increased health services, and decreased ability to function resulting in lost income and disability, and diminished health-related quality of life." said Dagmar Amtmann, PHD who will lead the study. "There is now a significant body of scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of self-management interventions that address SE and catastrophizing in improving pain, mental health, and health-related quality of life of people experiencing CP. Both pain catastrophizing and pain related self-efficacy are not only critical, but are perhaps the most critical factors in chronic pain management. New and sophisticated patient-centered measures of PRSE and PC developed using IRT based approaches will facilitate pain research and clinical practice while reducing patient-respondent burden."

"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 University of Washington researchers to share the results." 

The University of Washington study and the other projects approved for funding by PCORI were selected from 490 applications that responded fully to PCORI's funding announcements issued in February 2014. They were selected through a highly competitive review process in which patients, clinicians, and other stakeholders joined clinical 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.

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. It has approved $671 million to support 360 research studies and initiatives since it began funding research in 2012. For more information about PCORI funding, visit