Collaborative pushes for EHR data use in clinical research

Electronic health record systems are not designed to generate data for clinical research, and providers engaged in clinical trials may be using a number of different, incompatible EHRs. Yet a high-powered consortium of medical research centers, pharmaceutical companies, medical advocacy groups and health IT organizations is trying to find ways to overcome these and other obstacles so that electronic patient data can be mined for research purposes.

Known as the Partnership to Advance Clinical Electronic Research, or PACeR, the year-old collaborative recently completed Phase 1 of its initiative to create a clinical research network in New York using EHR data. PACeR aims to use the data to identify candidates for clinical trials more efficiently, and to improve protocol modeling and data collection.

The first phase of the project demonstrated the feasibility of developing an electronic clinical data process for research while protecting the confidentiality of personal health information. It also showed the significant benefits of this approach for a variety of healthcare stakeholders.

PACeR currently is soliciting funds for Phase 2, which will focus on demonstration projects involving multiple academic medical centers in New York. Among the projects under consideration are: developing a common clinical terminology and mapping it to disparate EHRs; protocol modeling and patient selection services; data aggregation and reporting capability from multiple institutions; and the development of clinical software solutions that "wrap around" disparate EHRs.

Among the pharmaceutical firms supporting PACeR are Bayer, Hoffman-LaRoche, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer. Quintiles, a clinical research organization, is also onboard, as is technology firm Oracle and the Hastings Center, a medical ethics research and advocacy organization.

Participating academic medical centers, include Albany Medical Center, Bassett Medical Center, Continuum Health Partners (St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and Beth Israel Medical Center), New York Hospital Queens, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, NYU Langone Medical Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corporation, Stony Brook University Medical Center, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, SUNY Upstate University Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Westchester Medical Center.

To learn more:
- here's PACeR's announcement
- download the PACeR white paper (.pdf)
- read this InformationWeek Healthcare piece