Kaiser data network aims to improve cancer, heart disease outcomes

Kaiser Permanente plans to use $7 million to build a data network aimed at improving cancer, obesity and heart diseases outcomes this year, the health system announced this week.

The network--which will be known as The Kaiser Permanente & Strategic Partners Patient Outcomes Research To Advance Learning, or PORTAL--will be one of 29 individual projects receiving a total of $93.5 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute that will make up PCORnet, a National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network. In addition to improving the speed and efficiency of research, the group wants to make research more patient-centered. The goal is to create a collaborative, interoperable and secure "network of networks" that serves both scientists and patients.

"PCORnet presents a terrific opportunity to further develop Kaiser Permanente's vision of using computerized data to help patients achieve better health," Tracy Lieu, M.D., co-principal investigator of PORTAL, said in the announcement. "We have world-class leaders in research in the three focus areas for our network--colorectal cancer, heart disease and obesity--and this is a great chance for us to transform health care through patient engagement."

The network will include Kaiser, Group Health Cooperative, HealthPartners and Denver Health, and 11 research centers affiliated with the systems. Over the next 18 months, the team will use PCORI funds to expand and improve research systems, standardize data for research and develop policies for the national network that govern data sharing and security of patient information.

Last April, PCORI announced plans to invest roughly $68 million to create a national "data-rich infrastructure" to support comparative effectiveness research (CER). In September, it handed out more than $114 million over three years to fund research focused on heart disease, chronic pain, cancer and other conditions, including projects to engage minority patients and caregivers in the studies.

Kaiser has been comparing the effectiveness of various treatments for years; last summer it was reported that the health system found that the cost of treatment doesn't necessarily translate to effectiveness.

To learn more:
- read the announcement from Kaiser Permanente

Related Articles:
PCORI funds 'network of networks' for comparative effectiveness research
PCORI hands out $114 million in telehealth, research data grants
Comparative effectiveness research improves outcomes, Kaiser finds
PCORI to invest $68 million for national comparative effectiveness research network