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Multimillion Dollar NIH Grant Will Support PRO Integration Into EHRs

Surabhi Dangi-Garimella, PhD
A coalition of 9 universities in the United States has been awarded $6.3 million by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences to bring patient-reported outcomes front and center in the clinic.
A coalition of 9 universities in the United States has been awarded $6.3 million by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences to bring patient-reported outcomes (PROs) front and center in the clinic. The project will be led by Northwestern University in Chicago.

The project, called EHR Access to Seamless Integration of PROMIS (EASI-PRO), will integrate Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) into the patient’s electronic health record (EHR). According to the news report on Northwestern’s website, PROMIS is already a part of Northwestern Medicine’s EHR, and now the team is building a software to integrate PROMIS with other EHRs, like those by Cerner and EPIC (who are partnering with the universities for this project), to allow wider adaptation of the patient survey in health systems across the country.

PROs surveys ask patients questions about their physical, mental and social health; survey responses, can help providers and researchers can monitor the impact of clinical care on patient health.

“Our experience integrating the PROMIS tools into the EHR at Northwestern has convinced us that tight workflow integration of PROs into the clinical workflow brings many benefits to both quality and clinical research projects,” said Justin Starren, director of the Center for Data Science and Informatics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and principal investigator of EASI-PRO, in a statement.

The remaining 8 universities that will be working with Northwestern on this project include University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Kentucky, University of Florida, University of Utah, Harvard Catalyst CTS, and Southern California CTSI.

“This project will help us better treat patients and conduct research by making surveys shorter, easier, and more relevant to everyone’s needs,” Samuel Volchenboum, MD, PhD, the principal investigator for the study at the University of Chicago, director of the Center for Research Informatics, and associate director of the Institute for Translational Medicine at the university, told HealthITAnalytics in an interview. “Patients’ answers can be used by their doctors to tailor treatments to the quality of life needs patients report as important, and researchers can use the information to identify trends to learn about and improve healthcare,” he added.

 
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