FAQs: PCORI LHS Pilot Community Office Hours, Nov. 16 and 20

Q: My understanding is that Cincinnati will provide 0.1 FTE to the PPRNs mostly dedicated to supporting possible integration between data systems, with the goal of connecting those systems to the LHS Registry Platform.  Yet PPRNs will have other data needs connected with integrating to the LHS Registry. Is it correct that CCH will not provide any support that is not related to integration with the LHS Registry Platform?

    A:  That is correct.  The LHS Informatics team is focused on onboarding Networks onto the LHS Registry Platform.  Any data/technology needs for Networks, other than those focused on integrating with the LHS Registry Platform, will need to planned to be supported by Network staff or team members.


Q:  Is the $250 K budget estimate for configuration with the LHS Registry Platform a plug figure for PPRNs’ budgets, or how flexible is it? 

  A:  We are putting together review criteria (checklist + question) so your network can assess whether a particular technology solution can meet your needs, because it may be difficult for PPRNs to assess what commercial vendors can feasibly do.  So, setting aside $250 K for technology makes sense, but do not parse that figure too deeply, since you cannot do a very precise estimate of IT costs without knowing how many measures you will have. Starting now and during Design you all will go through the same exercise to understand your measures and data elements.


Q:  Should we be budgeting to pay staff at care sites?  Some of our centers are receiving compensation from an existing grant. Those centers might be expecting some support for being part of a LHS. Do you expect centers will do this work for no compensation?  Will the review committee be concerned if we are supplementing income for centers in the early stages, while planning for the centers to support the work later on? 

   A:  In fact centers usually pay the network to participate.  The reason is important: this work is hard, and it only works if there is a strategic commitment by the organization to do it. If a care center cannot afford this work, then that means they are probably not strategically committed to it yet. Yes, this means you will lose some potential sites, but they will join later when they see the benefits of the network. Focus your site recruitment on the early adopters.


If you are already providing support to existing centers for specific functions like data collection, travel, or regulatory work, that support could continue with other funds.  Your application would not necessarily marked down.  However, you do not want to set up incorrect expectations among your centers, or else they could stop participating when the network’s support to them stops. 


Q:  We were thinking of building in time during the first 6 months when we would survey different technology solutions. Would it be acceptable to budget that cost in Year 2, or partway into Year 1? 

   A:  Yes, you may. The components necessary to support a LHS will cost at least as much, probably more, if you want to modify your existing external IT system yourself and not integrate it with the LHS Registry Platform. The estimate of $250 K for configuration is a one-time cost to your network that spans Years 1 and 2.

Q: May we budget for our network’s own separate design meeting(s)? 

A:  Yes, of course. We think you will have to have design meetings.

Q:  What about the $1,000 for conference fees in the Budget Guideline? Should we budget for that?

A:  No, you should not budget for this cost during the two-year award period.  This cost is illustrative of the cost borne by the Program Office at Cincinnati for each PPRN’s participation.

Q:  What is expected for a sustainability plan?  What is the spectrum of that? Does sustainability mean mostly money? 

A:  (RC3 and RC4).  Financial self-sufficiency is important to cover your expected costs of running the network.

Also, we want to see evidence this is a long-term project for you and your partners/stakeholders after the initial award period, from 3-5 years on, even 5-10 years.  How you think you can sustain the improvement of the network, and achieve your goals for network growth and scale should be evident in your application as well as your interview.

Q:  Are you envisioning a subscription model for participating care sites?  In some other networks, the ROI does not seem sufficient for centers to pay a membership fee. 

A:  In most of our current Anderson Center-supported learning networks, care sites do contribute in order to participate. That does not always cover all of the costs of the network.

Additional sources of funding include grants for specific improvement or research projects, health institution funds, industry funding for research and collaboration, and philanthropic donations.

We don’t expect you to have your sustainability plan completely worked out by Dec 5.  PPRN awardees will receive coaching from us on sustainability models and making the business case to support your network.

Q:  Can we use an in-house QI expert?

A:  Yes, and we will train that person.  Expect to budget about 0.5 FTE for your QIC.

Q:  What will be the start date of PPRN awards?

A:  Although executing contracts may take several weeks, the start date of each award will be the date of announcement, anticipated to be Jan. 29, 2018.

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