OAKLAND, Calif. — A new contract of nearly $7 million will take advantage of Kaiser Permanente’s pioneering expertise in health care research to build a data network aimed at improving patient outcomes in colorectal cancer, heart disease and obesity.
The Kaiser Permanente-led clinical data research network is one of 29 individual network projects that were approved for a total of $93.5 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute on Dec. 17, 2013 to form PCORnet: the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, a new resource that aims to boost the efficiency of health research.
The Kaiser Permanente & Strategic Partners Patient Outcomes Research To Advance Learning, known as PORTAL, is a new network that brings together four leading health care delivery systems (Kaiser Permanente, Group Health Cooperative, HealthPartners and Denver Health), the 11 research centers affiliated with these systems, and patients, clinicians and operational leaders to develop the infrastructure necessary to conduct comparative effectiveness research.
PORTAL is led by principal investigator Elizabeth McGlynn, PhD, director of Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Effectiveness & Safety Research, and co-principal investigator Tracy Lieu, MD, director of Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s Division of Research. The network will develop data systems necessary to conduct studies with patients in three areas: colorectal cancer, severe congenital heart disease and obesity.
“The PCORI award represents an important next step in the 20-year journey of Kaiser Permanente and its partners to realize the vision of becoming learning health care organizations, that is, to be able to ask and answer the questions that are important to our members and their clinicians,” said McGlynn. “We are excited to be part of this national initiative and believe it will ultimately translate into better care for our members and for patients nationally.”
PCORI envisions the new overarching network, called PCORnet, to be a secure, national data network that improves the speed, efficiency and use of patient-centered comparative effectiveness research. By enhancing the ability to leverage data available in the 29 individual networks, PCORnet aims to make it easier and faster to conduct comparative effectiveness research on large, nationally representative samples of patients using a variety of research designs.
“PCORnet presents a terrific opportunity to further develop Kaiser Permanente’s vision of using computerized data to help patients achieve better health,” said Dr. Lieu, co-principal investigator of PORTAL. “This vision was first described more than 50 years ago by Morrie Collen, the founding director of our research program. We have world-class leaders in research in the three focus areas for our network — colorectal cancer, heart disease and obesity — and this is a great chance for us to transform health care through patient engagement.”
During the next 18 months, the Kaiser Permanente-led team will use the PCORI funds to expand and improve its research systems, continue work on standardizing its data for research, and participate in developing policies for the national network that govern data sharing and security and protection of patient privacy. It also will refine PORTAL’s capacity to engage and recruit patients and other stakeholders interested in participating in research, including clinical trials.
“We are pleased that the Kaiser Permanente data network will be part of this exciting initiative to build the data structures needed to significantly enhance the speed and efficiency of patient-centered comparative effectiveness research,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD. “The process to select the awardees was very competitive and Kaiser Permanente demonstrated it has the expertise, resources and commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders to be an excellent fit in PCORnet.”
Kaiser Permanente was selected through a review process in which patients, caregivers and other stakeholders joined scientists to evaluate the proposals. Applications were assessed for the capacity of their network to collect complete, comprehensive clinical data, how well they will engage patients and other stakeholders, and their ability to maintain data security and patient privacy, among other criteria.
All awards are approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.
PCORI has awarded a total of $464.4 million since it began funding comparative effectiveness research in 2012. For more information about PCORI funding, visit http://pcori.org/funding-opportunities.
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at www.pcori.org.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 9.1 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to kp.org/share.