Healthcare Research

Discoveries emerging from NIH-funded research have led to new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat illness, ultimately affecting the health of the nation and the world. OSP works across the NIH to promote the translation of clinical research discoveries into healthcare, including the use of data generated in healthcare and real-world settings, with the aim of improving human health.

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Outcomes and Effectiveness Research

Outcomes research is designed to examine how healthcare practices and interventions are implemented and the impacts they have on various groups, such as patients, providers, payers, and regulators. Health services research studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and ultimately, our health and well-being.  NIH funds both related fields of research, and historically tracks support for a large portfolio of health services research trans-NIH.

OSP provides coordination both within NIH and with other federal agency partners on outcomes research and related policies. Specifically, OSP coordinates relevant activities with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), facilitates research collaborations and supports NIH leadership involvement with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and coordinates NIH activities under the OS-Patient Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund.

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Evidence Generation and Healthcare Implementation

NIH conducts and supports research that aims to develop a robust evidence base that can inform the implementation of innovative and high quality and care.  There are many barriers that slow the translation of biomedical and healthcare research discoveries and their translation into products, policy, and practice, with the translational gap from research to clinical practice still taking well over a decade. OSP seeks to understand biomedical and healthcare research translation challenges and identify potential policy solutions that can drive more efficient and effective translation through coordination with federal agency partners. In particular, OSP serves as a liaison to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and works with the NIH research community on areas of opportunity related to the evidence generation pipeline, clinical trial coverage policies, and CMS data access and sharing.

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Digital Health

Use of digital health tools and technologies in biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences research at NIH is steadily increasing as they become more accessible in society. NIH currently supports and conducts both the development and use of digital health tools and technologies for research studies, incorporating algorithms, sensors, wearables, mobile applications, artificial intelligence, and diagnostics into a broad research portfolio, from behavioral to biopharmaceutical interventions. NIH has also supported the development of infrastructure needed to maintain and leverage digital health for research across various health systems and in rural health settings.

While digital health tools and technologies offer great potential for scientific discovery, there are challenges to their responsible incorporation into research, including privacy, data stewardship, validity, and ethics. OSP serves as a resource and a nexus point for the NIH research community to identify and resolve emerging policy issues and promote best practices for the use of digital health technologies in clinical research.

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