VA grants $5 million toward precision medicine

By Jack McCarthy
07:58 AM

The Department of Veterans Affairs awarded a $5 million grant to support a precision medicine program that leverages the agency's electronic health data.

The grant goes to The Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine, which will collaborate on the five-year, multi-site precision monitoring program that will use existing VA electronic health data to implement monitoring to generate data to improve care quality and outcomes.

Projects will take place in various health care environments, including the Emergency Department, inpatient units and outpatient units, and will focus on diverse medical conditions. In addition to studying the technical solutions to precision monitoring, investigators also will study how providing actionable data can be used to activate healthcare providers and teams to engage in improvement activities without drowning in information overload.

"The VA is the single largest provider of health care in the United States with a wealth of patient information and a single unified electronic health record. It is ideally poised to apply precision monitoring to transform care and outcomes for veterans and to exert national leadership in this important area," said co-principal investigator of the new program, Linda S. Williams, M.D.

The new grant supports four precision monitoring related projects, all focused on delivering the right information to the right person at the right time. They are 1), nationwide implementation of electronic quality indicators for inpatient stroke care, 2), use of patient-specific data and telehealth technology to facilitate improvement in care for veterans with transient ischemic attack 3), remote monitoring of continuous positive airway pressure for patients with sleep apnea, and 4), reduction of inappropriate carotid artery imaging orders.

"The potential impact of our study is vast," said Dr. Williams. "I believe what we are dealing with in the VA is similar to what other healthcare systems will encounter as they move forward to meet new government regulations and envision and manage care as an accountable care organization rather than as a single hospital or clinic." Dr. Williams is an investigator with the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis and the Regenstrief Institute, and a professor of neurology at the IU School of Medicine.

"The VA's expertise and experience with patient-specific electronic medical data may help identify strategies to ensure that patients receive the best care and, importantly, are not lost to follow-up," said study co-principal investigator Dawn Bravata, M.D. "Precision monitoring is critical to that care; there are facility, cultural and medical-specialty variations in how data are used which we must overcome." Dr. Bravata is an investigator with the Roudebush VA Medical Center and the Regenstrief Institute, and a professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine.