New Projects Seek Health IT Solutions to Improve Care Coordination and Patient-Centered Care

For Immediate Release:
December 10, 2015
Kristin Rosengren

WASHINGTON, D.C. (12/10/2015) – Today, AcademyHealth’s Electronic Data Methods (EDM) Forum, announced a set of awards, with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), to support two collaborative projects that focus on systems approaches to using electronic health data to improve patient-centered care. Both projects are designed to stimulate creative strategies to address shared challenges and foster collaboration among a diverse set of national leaders, with the overall goal of improving health for patients and populations.

“This year’s projects focus on system-level approaches that use electronic health data to promote patient-centered care – they’re terrific examples of the EDM Forum’s unique role” says Erin Holve, senior director at AcademyHealth and principal investigator for the EDM Forum. “The EDM Forum’s collaborative projects bring stakeholders together to develop new ways of using health IT and health data to address issues that impact quality and patient safety. As our previous projects demonstrate, they have a successful track record of generating practical strategies to support patient-centered care.”

This year's awards focus on using electronic health data to improve patient-centered care by promoting shared decision-making for advance health care directives and bridging the gap between key inpatient care measures and patient outcomes. The two, one-year projects include collaborators from care delivery settings, academic medicine and health services research, public health, and community services organizations:

Honoring Choices Virginia: Ensuring Access to Advance Care Plans Across Settings and Providers (J. Brian Cassel, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University (PI); Robin Clair Cummings, MSHA, Honoring Choices Virginia; Michael Matthews, BS,MPH, Connect Virginia; Michael Gallagher, Unival, Inc.; Debbie Condrey, MPH, Virginia Department of Health)

A significant challenge in health care is the difficulty in sharing advance care planning documents across providers and settings or via the statewide Advance Directive Registry. This project will document strategies to improve interoperability of advance care planning documents across settings to ensure patient’s needs and wishes are met. This project brings together three health systems in Richmond Virginia that have adopted the Respecting Choices model for advance care planning, forming Honoring Choices Virginia under leadership of the Richmond Academy of Medicine.

Together, the health systems will develop an action plan and technical strategy document, which will be provided and institutions will be asked to commit to changes needed for sharing these documents. The approach will be summarized in a community engagement template that will be made available to promote the spread of strategies other communities may replicate.

“From its inception, Honoring Choices Virginia® has recognized the challenge of ensuring that advance care plans and advance directives are electronically documented and accessible within each of the three health systems participating in this community-wide effort”, says Brian Cassel, assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and principal investigator for this project. “Right now, a patient can complete a plan in one system, but if they show up in the Emergency Department at another system these records may not be accessible. It is vital that we work together as a community to recognize and address this. Our EDM Forum Collaborative Project will take this to the next level: ensuring that patients’ wishes can be known and honored across all settings and providers.”

Analyzing Pain in Electronic Health Data to Improve Patient Care Quality (Blaine Reeder, Ph.D., University of Colorado; Karen Sousa, PhD, RN, University of Colorado; Mary Beth Makic, PhD, RN, University of Colorado Hospital; Mustafa Ozkaynak, PhD, University of Colorado; Oliwier Dziadkowiec, PhD, University of Colorado; Jessica Bondy, MSHA, University of Colorado; Bryant Doyle, University of Colorado)

A gap exists between the vast quantity of EHR data that captures the impact of nursing care on patient outcomes, and the ability to associate nursing interventions with outcomes such as a patient’s pain. To address this gap, colleagues from the University of Colorado Health System, Centura Health, and the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System will develop generalizable guidance for a data system designed to enable comparison of nurse-sensitive patient outcomes across healthcare systems.

“Nurses are the largest group of health care professionals who use electronic health records, yet there is little understanding of the relationship between the care provided by nurses and patients’ health trajectories,” says Blaine Reeder, assistant professor at the University of Colorado and principal investigator for this project. “This project brings together nurse scientists and informatics experts to develop a collaborative system for analyzing nurse-sensitive patient outcomes such as patient pain scores. The knowledge gained from this project has the potential to vastly improve patient care quality and transform the way care is delivered."

Both projects will work with the EDM Forum to engage a variety of perspectives over the course of the year through efforts that promote exchange and collaboration across disciplines and sectors (including researchers, policymakers, health care professionals, vendors, payers, and patients). At the conclusion of the awards, the projects will contribute actionable, generalizable, and timely tools to the health care community.

Previous collaborative projects funded by the EDM Forum include: an application for patient-centered portable consent, which was used as part of Apple’s ResearchKit; best practices to improve the collection and use of patient-reported outcomes; creation of an infrastructure to develop and test clinical quality measures in diverse settings with diverse patient populations; and a new platform for sharing health data and code, CIELO, which aims to bring together work from major distributed research networks and quality improvement effort to improve the timeliness and efficiency of innovation in health data science.

For more information and to find out how to get involved in workshops and other project activities, please contact or visit the EDM Forum website.

About the EDM Forum

The EDM Forum drives rapid collaboration among researchers and diverse stakeholders who create data, methods and evidence to shape the next generation of learning health systems. The EDM Forum was created through a cooperative agreement from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Grant #U13 HS19564-010. Ongoing support for the EDM Forum comes from AHRQ Grant #U18 HS022789-01.

About AcademyHealth

AcademyHealth is a leading national organization serving the fields of health services and policy research and the professionals who produce and use this important work. Together with our members, we offer programs and services that support the development and use of rigorous, relevant and timely evidence to increase the quality, accessibility, and value of health care, to reduce disparities, and to improve health. A trusted broker of information, AcademyHealth brings stakeholders together to address the current and future needs of an evolving health system, inform health policy, and translate evidence into action.