Kids get their own informatics institute

Kurt NewmanKurt Newman, president and CEO, Children's National

'We believe this is the only such institute devoted solely to IT innovation in pediatric care'

Children's National Health System and Cerner have teamed up to create The Bear Institute, a joint effort the two entities say will be the first exclusively pediatric health informatics institute in the nation.

A seven-year agreement between the hospital in the nation’s capital and Kansas City, Mo.-based health IT company is intended to result in evidence-based pediatric care delivery, research, and education through innovation in health information technology.

"We believe this is the only such institute devoted solely to IT innovation in pediatric care," officials said in announcing the deal. The institute will accelerate the development of fully-integrated electronic health records, accessible to care providers, patients and families, healthcare facilities, educators, and researchers within, and affiliated with, Children's National. It also will facilitate the rapid development of sophisticated health IT capabilities including: linking genomic profiles to decision support for personalized healthcare; matching patient information with a database of open clinical trials for research opportunities; and more nimble patient and family engagement with their health through secure, Web-enabled portals and mobile devices.

[See also: Virginia Hospital Center partners with Children's National Medical Center.]

"If we are to achieve healthier societies, we will need innovation in two critical areas: information technology and the health and well-being of children, Kurt Newman, president and CEO, Children's National, said in a news release. "As information technology becomes more central to delivering world-class care, we see an opportunity to lead IT practice for children's health. We share this vision with Cerner, and that shared vision was the determining factor in the selection of Children's National to be the partner for the Bear Institute. Together, we will serve as innovators for children and families."

With the formation of The Bear Institute, Cerner and Children's National will invest in innovative programming and product development. As Newman sees it, successful developments will translate into intellectual property development and research.

Neal Patterson, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Cerner, cited Children’s National’s 140-year history of excellence in serving the health need of children, commitment to research and proven record of incorporating health information technology in care. Those factors, Patterson said in a statement, "make this a very compelling collaboration."
 
Children's National brings to the Institute its existing and ongoing significant investment in digitizing healthcare delivery, as well as its national leadership among pediatric healthcare organizations in using the electronic health record system to benchmark and track quality and safety initiatives, officials noted. Additionally, Children's National has led the development of the Children's IQ Network, a pediatric health information exchange for children, which provides the foundational information technology capability to realize an integrated healthcare delivery system reaching across the mid-Atlantic region.

[See also: Health informatics jobs growing and Clinical informatics inspires change.]

"Imagine having all of the essential health information, robust workflow-integrated support for decisions, as well as patient-specific genomic information available at clinicians' fingertips thereby allowing them to make well-informed prevention, diagnostic, and treatment decisions," said Brian Jacobs, MD, vice president, CIO, CMIO and executive director of the Center for Pediatric Informatics and the Children's IQ Network. "We are very close to making this an everyday reality. This collaboration will accelerate that momentum."

The Bear Institute will amplify Cerner's role with Children's National, with the assumption of operational and administrative responsibilities for Children's National information technology via its Cerner Millennium solutions and services, including remote hosting, monitoring and system performance capabilities, including data protection. Also, the current Children's National IT team will become Bear Institute/Cerner associates, offering career development, training and advancement.