NIH aims to spur integration of patient-generated outcomes into EHRs

EHR patient

Photo credit: Getty/pandpstock001

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a $6.3 million grant to accelerate the use of patient-reported outcomes in research and clinical care by integrating it into electronic health records.

The grant, from NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, is going to a coalition of nine universities led by Northwestern University. The project, called EHR Access to Seamless Integration of Promise (EASI-PRO) will integrate PROMIS--a computerized survey tool--into the universities’ EHRs so that clinicians will be able to compare the surveys with the patients’ medical information. PROMIS stands for “Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System” and uses only the most relevant information, so its surveys are potentially shorter.

“We are very excited to see this multi-institutional project take off,” Donald Lloyd-Jones, director of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute, said in an announcement. “This approach to direct, efficient acquisition and integration of patient-reported information represents the future of patient care and medical research, and this project paves the way to that future.”

Northwestern has already integrated PROMIS into its EHRs. The other sites are the 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. Cerner and Epic will serve as integration collaborators.

Patient-generated data has been regarded as helpful to the overall accuracy of the medical record and to the improvement of patient care. However, management of such information is currently problematic due to the lack of standardization of questions asked of patients and lack of centralized governance of the information obtained.