Public Release: 

Kaiser Permanente Research collaboration wins national designation as evidence-based practice center

New EPC wins three-year contract to conduct evidence reviews for the US Preventive Services Task Force

Kaiser Permanente

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 17, 2012 - A new research collaboration led by Kaiser Permanente has received a prestigious designation from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to serve of as one of the nation's 11 Evidence-based Practice Centers. The EPCs produce evidence reviews on behalf of programs such as AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The new collaboration, called Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates, involves nearly 80 researchers from three integrated health care delivery systems, including Kaiser Permanente, Group Health and HealthPartners. All three organizations are members of the national HMO Research Network. Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates is headquartered in Portland, Ore. at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and directed by Evelyn P. Whitlock, MD, MPH, who has more than 15 years of experience in evidence-based medicine.

"Our new partnership with Group Health Research Institute and HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research brings together researchers with diverse expertise who are embedded in large integrated health care delivery systems," says Dr. Whitlock, who is a senior investigator and director of evidence-based medicine with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. "This allows us to involve important multi-disciplinary professionals, tapping into clinical, organizational, behavioral and policy perspectives. These strengths will help us to ask and answer research questions that are especially meaningful to clinicians, as well as health systems, and those they directly serve, including patients and caregivers."

"We at Group Health Research Institute are very excited to be a part of this unique EPC," says Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, executive director at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. "By working with researchers and stakeholders who are close to the needs of care systems of all sizes, we hope to be able to translate the results of our systematic reviews into practice more quickly than ever."

"No health care provider or health system can single-handedly sort through the vast medical literature in order to make well-informed decisions on a broad range of quality improvement opportunities," says Michael Maciosek, PhD, senior research investigator at the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, Minneapolis. "The EPCs have provided this tremendous service to clinicians and health systems over the years, and it is an honor to be invited by AHRQ to join this effort."

The new Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates EPC has access to researchers from Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii, Georgia, Colorado, Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. Many of these researchers are physicians who see patients and work in the health care delivery system. They offer significant systematic review and related experience in preventive services, primary care, genomic testing evaluation, behavioral interventions, statistical modeling, methods development, aging, disparities and care delivery.

The goal of AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program evidence reviews is to help patients, physicians and policymakers make better decisions about screening and treatment for a variety of health conditions. These evidence reviews draw on completed scientific studies to compare the harms and benefits of different healthcare interventions. They also show where more research is needed.

Topics are typically nominated through a public process by non-federal partners such as professional societies, health plans, insurers, employers and patient groups. The reviews are used by national and state agencies, private sector professional societies, health delivery systems, providers, payers and others committed to evidence-based health care.

The other 10 EPCs are:

  • BlueCross BlueShield Association, Chicago
  • Brown University, Providence, R.I.
  • ECRI Institute, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif.
  • RTI International, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
  • The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
  • University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.

Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates will begin its work by conducting 15 comprehensive evidence reviews for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force -- an independent group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services. These recommendations inform prevention for a variety of conditions including cancer, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, osteoporosis, mental health and support of healthy aging.


About the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research

Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research, founded in 1964, is a nonprofit research institution dedicated to advancing knowledge to improve health. It has research sites in Portland, Ore., Honolulu, Hawaii, and Atlanta. For more information, go to:

About Group Health Research Institute

Group Health Research Institute is the research arm of Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative. Group Health Research Institute changed its name from Group Health Center for Health Studies in 2009. Since 1983, the Institute has conducted nonproprietary public-interest research on preventing, diagnosing, and treating major health problems. Government and private research grants provide its main funding.

About Group Health

Group Health Cooperative is a consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system. Founded in 1947 and based in Seattle, Wash., Group Health Cooperative coordinates health care and coverage. Group Health and its subsidiary health carriers, Group Health Options, Inc. and KPS Health Plans, serve more than 600,000 residents of Washington state and Idaho.

About HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research

HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving health through discovery, the translation of research and health professional education. Our researchers are dedicated to conducting high-quality, public-domain health research, proposed and led by multidisciplinary teams of independent PhD- and MD-level investigators. Our health professional educators provide nationally accredited graduate medical education, continuing medical education and clinical simulation emphasizing the use of quality improvement and experiential learning.

About HealthPartners

Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners family of health care companies serves more than 1.4 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. It is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation providing care, coverage, research, and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community. HealthPartners is the top-ranked commercial health plan in Minnesota and is also ranked among the top 25 plans in the nation according to NCQA's Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2011-12 - private.

About the HMO Research Network

The HMO Research Network includes 19 research centers, each associated with a health care delivery system. Researchers at the centers collaborate on multi site studies in real-world health care settings across the United States and in Israel. With access to information on more than 16 million ethnically and geographically diverse patients, these researchers are finding solutions for common and rare health problems. Since 1994, the Network has been answering pressing questions about keeping people healthy and delivering effective care.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health. For more information, go to:

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