News and Highlights

April 2014

New Grants

Weill Cornell-Led Consortium Wins $7 Million to Develop New York Patient Data Network
A consortium led by Rainu Kaushal, MD, MPH, the Frances and John L. Loeb Professor of Medical Informatics and Chairman of the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, and involving nearly two dozen New York City health care systems and organizations, has been awarded $7 million to develop a city-wide research data infrastructure that will enable area patients and providers to make better-informed clinical decisions. The award, announced by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) on Dec. 17, will enable the consortium, known as the New York City Clinical Data Research Network (NYC-CDRN), to establish a data network that will securely collect, store and share comprehensive medical histories for as many as 6 million consenting patients. Researchers say the initiative will provide the most thorough and detailed snapshot of patient care in New York — information critical to determining how effective and economical existing health care treatments and delivery models are and how they compare against each other. Read more in a WCMC news article. The New York consortium is one of 11 sub-networks established nationwide by PCORI to track patient data. A front-page, above-the-fold article in The Washington Post discussed the national patient network, and quoted Dr. Kaushal. News of this grant was covered in Crain’s Health Pulse, (this article also mentioned her appointment as Chairman of the Weill Cornell Department of Health Policy and Research), Healthcare IT News, Newswise Montefiore, and Medical Economics.

An article about the NYC-CDRN, written by Dr. Kaushal and other consortium members, was published May 12, 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Dr. Bruce Schackman Receives R01 from NIDA and Other Grants
Bruce Schackman, PhD, Professor and Interim Chief of the Division of Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research, is the Principal Investigator of an R01 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse titled “Economic Evaluation of Medication-Assisted Substance Abuse Treatment.” Samprit Banerjee, PhD, is the Research Biostatistician and Jared Leff, MS, is the Program Supervisor. The study, which runs from April 2014 through March 2018, will measure the cost, quality of life impact, cost-effectiveness, and cost-benefit of two new medication-assisted outpatient treatments being evaluated in a randomized controlled trial conducted in 7 community-based drug abuse treatment programs across the United States.

Dr. Schackman was recently awarded a one-year administrative supplement to his NIDA grant titled “Quality of Life Outcomes in Prescription and Injection Opioid Dependence.” This study will measure the quality of life impact of opioid dependence, taking into account additional use of other illicit drugs and other physical and mental health problems, from the point of view of members of the community through an internet survey. Results will help researchers and health care decision makers evaluate the cost-effectiveness of integrated treatments for opioid dependence in the same way that they consider evidence about the cost-effectiveness of other medical treatments.

Dr. Schackman is also the Subaward PI of a study titled “HPTN 065 HIV Testing Cost Analysis,” funded by the National Institutes of Health. The Principal Investigator is Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, of fhi360, a nonprofit human development organization. The objective of this work is to conduct an analysis that describes the cost of delivering HIV testing in emergency department and inpatient settings at selected expanded testing hospital sites in Bronx, NY, and Washington, DC, including differences in costs as the selected hospitals have changed their HIV testing procedures (e.g., moving from point-of-care testing to multiplex laboratory-based testing; moving from opt-in to opt-out testing). The first phase of this grant ran from July to December, 2013, and a second phase is expected to continue through June 2014.

Dr. Lawrence Casalino Leads Grants Funded by Commonwealth Fund and AHRQ
Lawrence Casalino, MD, PhD, The Livingston FarrandProfessor and Chief of the Division of Healthcare Policy and Economics, is the Principal Investigator of a grant from the Commonwealth Fund titled “Large Primary Care Groups.” Matthew Press, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research and the Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar in Quality of Care Research, is a Co-Investigator. The project team will assess six large primary care physician groups to answer questions including how and why the groups were created, and what their strategies are for succeeding and improving patient care.

Dr. Casalino is the Principal Investigator at Weill Cornell of a two-year study, based at the University of Arizona and funded by the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality titled “Relative Prices, Payer Mix and Regional Variations in Medical Care.” The researchers are testing a theoretical explanation of Medicare’s regional variations by using data from FAIR Health, Thomson Reuters MarketScan, and Medicare Part B to test whether geographic variations in Medicare spending for physicians can be explained by the profitability of Medicare relative to other payers.  

Dr. Art Sedrakyan Receives New Grant for Registry Initiative from FDA
Art Sedrakyan, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research and Director of the Patient-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Program at WCMC,received a 5-year grant from the FDA titled “Global Consortium of Cardiovascular Registries: Transcatheter Valve initiative.” The goal of this project is to address identified gaps in the current postmarket surveillance system by developing: (1) new methodologies for registry data collection and linkage and by adapting known methodologies to medical devices; (2) novel methodologies that allow for use of the registry data collection infrastructure to serve multiple purposes including postmarket surveillance, device tracking through Unique Device Identifiers (UDI), prospective embedded studies, quality improvement, and other uses; and (3) registries and consortia in key medical device areas to implement new registry methodologies that strategically broaden the scope of the U.S. and international postmarket surveillance system.  

Dr. Mark Unruh Awarded R03 from NIA to Study Hospitals’ Adoption of EHRs
Mark Unruh, PhD, MS,
Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research, has received funding through the National Institute on Aging's (R03) Small Research Grant Program to study hospitals' adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and re-hospitalization of Medicare beneficiaries. The results of the study will provide evidence of the influence of the nation's investment in EHRs on re-hospitalization of Medicare beneficiaries.

Dr. Joshua Vest Awarded R03 from AHRQ to Study the Geography of Health Information Exchange
Joshua R. Vest, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research, received an R03 grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) titled “How do you define regional? The geography of health information exchange.” This grant runs from September 2013 to December 2014.


Dr. Michael Pesko Leads Subcontract to Study Effect of Tobacco Regulatory Policies on Health
Michael Pesko, PhD, Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research and the Walsh McDermott Scholar, is leading a subcontract from the University of Illinois at Chicago for a study funded by the National Cancer Institute titled “Monitoring and Assessing the Impact of Tax and Price Policies on US Tobacco Use.” The subcontract is examining the impact of tobacco product prices and other regulatory policies on health.

Dr. William Borden Funded as Medical Officer in AHRQ
William B. Borden, MD, Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research, is being funded under an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignment Agreement as a Medical Officer in the Center for Outcomes and Evidence in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This project makes use of Dr. Borden’s cardiovascular clinical expertise in the dissemination and implementation of research findings to clinicians, particularly in connection to healthcare delivery system innovations.


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