AHRQ, PCORI make awards to 11 institutions to promote learning health systems

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Learning health systems are getting research funding to help ensure patient interactions that generate data are fully leveraged to create new evidence, resulting in improved clinical practices and outcomes.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute have made $40 million in awards to 11 institutions in nine states to fund the training of clinician and research scientists to conduct patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) within learning health systems.

“The researchers supported by this initiative will support efforts to bring healthcare systems, clinicians and patients fully into the process of developing the data needed to better support personalized medical decision-making,” says Joe Selby, MD, executive director of PCORI. “The ultimate goal for PCORI and AHRQ is to bring rigorous science to produce generalizable evidence that improves the quality of care and the health of individuals, both within and beyond these centers of excellence.”

The 11 Learning Health System Centers of Excellence receiving awards include:

  • A Chicago Center of Excellence in Learning Health Systems Research Training (ACCELERAT), Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill.
  • CATALyST: Consortium for Applied Training to Advance the Learning Health System with Scholars/Trainees, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Seattle, Wash.
  • Learning Health System Scholar Program at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Leveraging Infrastructure to Train Investigators in Patient-Centered Outcomes Research in Learning Health System (LITI- PCORLHS), Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Minnesota Learning Health System Mentored Career Development Program (MN-LHS), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • NW Center of Excellence & K12 in Patient Centered Learning Health Systems Science, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Ore.
  • PEDSnet Scholars: A Training Program for Pediatric Learning Health System Researchers, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Stakeholder-Partnered Implementation Research and Innovation Translation (SPIRIT) program, University of California- Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • The Center of Excellence in Promoting LHS Operations and Research at Einstein/Montefiore (EXPLORE), Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y.
  • Transforming the Generation and Adoption of PCOR into Practice (T-GAPP), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • University of California-San Francisco Learning Health System K12 Career Development Program, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif.

“Learning health systems are essential as the healthcare landscape becomes increasingly characterized by rich sources of information that are available in digital formats, programs, and applications,” according to the agencies’ announcement. “The new LHS Centers of Excellence funded under this initiative will produce the next generation of LHS researchers to conduct PCOR and implement the results to improve quality of care and patient outcomes.”

According to PCORI’s Selby, the awards will “help to grow the number of researchers with the knowledge and skill to learn from the real-world practice going on within their delivery systems and the real-world data being generated in ever-increasing quantity.”

The five-year initiative, jointly funded by AHRQ and PCORI, will be managed by AHRQ.

“Learning health systems aim to improve patient care through the use of real-time data and analytics,” says Gopal Khanna, director of AHRQ, in a written statement. “AHRQ is proud to collaborate with PCORI to develop a healthcare workforce trained to conduct research within a learning health system.”

Also See: The 3 phases of creating an analytics-powered learning health system

A partnership between Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute received a $3.4 million award under the initiative and is among the 11 institutions selected to participate.

“Every patient-care encounter is an opportunity to learn and improve the way we care for others,” says Peter Embi, MD, co-principal investigator and president and CEO of Regenstrief. “As healthcare becomes increasingly data-driven and a source of real-world evidence for improving care and quality, it is critical that we train experts who can create, study and sustain learning health systems.”

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