UChicago Medicine accepted into national initiative to accelerate putting patient-care research into action

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The University of Chicago Medicine was selected to join 41 other health systems across the country in a new program aimed at reducing the time between the publication of clinical research and its application in day-to-day patient care.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) launched its $50 million Health Systems Implementation Initiative (HSII) in March to reduce the estimated 17-year lag between publication of research that could benefit patients and its widespread use in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices.

Through HSII, UChicago Medicine can receive up to $500,000 to support initial stages and will be eligible for additional funding for subsequent research projects.

“This is an exciting time for UChicago Medicine to continue to expand our approach to providing best-in-class care at a scale that has true impact on health outcomes for Chicago’s South Side,” said Stephen Weber, MD, MSc, Executive Vice President for Clinical Effectiveness and Chief Medical Officer at UChicago Medicine.

"It takes a broad effort to speed up the research-to-practice timeline," said Heather Himelhoch, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of Clinical Performance Acceleration at UChicago Medicine.

Strategies to put patient-care protocols into action might involve technology, training, evaluation and more, Himelhoch said.

“It's a completely different skill set to start to think about how the system functions as a complex organism compared to traditional improvement approaches,” Himelhoch said. “We have to be really thoughtful and apply that system science approach to ‘how are we going to do this? How do we do better?’ The whole purpose of this is to close the implementation gap.”

PCORI is a non-profit created through the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and funded in part by fees on issuers of health insurance and self-insured plans.

Himelhoch said UChicago Medicine and the 41 other selected health systems will collaborate, sharing approaches as well as problems they encounter.

“We have a great foundation for this. It's just taking a step back and applying a systematic and scientific approach to it, so that it's at scale, it's standardized and it's sustainable,” she said.

Through its HSII selection, UChicago Medicine will be part of a national effort that will have a major local impact, she added.

“This is a really great opportunity for us and for the South Side,” she said. “We have a unique opportunity to really pave the way for getting the right care at the right time for a really vulnerable group of patients.”