NIH Funding of Health Services Research
We were delighted to host Dr. Lisa Simpson, CEO of AcademyHealth, for our last policy seminar of the academic year. Her presentation focused on the future of federal support for health services research (HSR), and I was struck by a few points she made about the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
- In terms of the distribution of funding reported by agencies, the NIH funds more HSR ($1.55 billion in FY 2016) than the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) combined ($926.6 million in FY 2016).
- NIH funding for HSR, in real dollars, has gone down about 7% since 2010.
Dr. Simpson also presented an analysis from HSRProj*, which has tracked public and private sector funding for HSR for over 20 years. This analysis revealed that the number of HSR projects funded by the NIH has had a 34% drop in the past 10 years, from 625 projects in 2005 to 379 projects in 2015. But this number obscures significant differences by institute, and that brings me to the following table, which speaks volumes to changing research priorities within fields and specialties:
*HSRProj is a joint effort of AcademyHealth and the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. HSRProj is funded by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.