CHS/GHRI historical milestones
Research has been part of Group Health's vision since it was founded in 1946, and the organization's commitment to scientific inquiry became even more evident in 1983 with establishment of Group Health Center for Health Studies (CHS), later known as Group Health Research Institute (GHRI). For more than 25 years, GHRI has partnered with researchers across the United States, bringing innovations to Group Health members, their Northwest communities, and the world. Here are some of our most noteworthy milestones.
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- Group Health Cooperative is founded. Mission statement includes, "Contribute to medical research."
- The first Group Health research project is launched by K. Warner Schaie, PhD. The Seattle Longitudinal Study on aging continues to this day.
- Group Health Research Department is established with Richard Handschin, MD, as director.
- The Group Health medical staff establishes the Department of Preventive Care Research under the leadership of Robert S. "Tommy" Thompson, MD.
- The Center for Health Studies (CHS) is founded with Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, as director.
- Group Health research shows how principles of evidence-based medicine can safely reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary routine chest X-rays and multi-channeled lab tests.
- The landmark RAND Health Insurance Study, which examined the effects of coverage on health care utilization and outcomes, publishes its results of a randomized controlled trial of fee-for-service versus Group Health's prepaid care.
- Group Health establishes the nation's first population-based breast cancer screening program, allowing ongoing CHS research to spur improvements.
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI) funds a study of Free & Clear, Group Health's phone-based smoking cessation program, which later became a national model.
- A paper from CHS and Group Health demonstrates that HMO cost increases rise in parallel with fee-for-service costs, presaging continuing cost problems for the organization.
- Group Health becomes one of the first smoke-free workplaces in the United States. An evaluation shows high employee acceptance and reduced rates of smoking among employees, accelerating national acceptance of smoke-free worksites.
- Group Health researchers advocate risk-based screening for breast cancer, an innovation that helped gain widespread acceptance of insurance coverage for such screening.
- Group Health researchers find that bicycle helmets reduce head injuries, accelerating the use of bicycle helmets nationwide.
- CDC sets up its Vaccine Safety Datalink project, with Group Health among four large health plans contributing data.
- Research at Group Health shows that patients who stop taking beta-blockers for hypertension have a significant but transient increased risk of coronary heart disease.
- Research in the Group Health population establishes the effectiveness of telephone counseling to help people quit smoking, a program now offered nationwide.
- The MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation is established within CHS to develop, evaluate, and disseminate innovations in healthcare delivery.
- CHS annual grant revenue tops $5 million.
- Group Health research shows that depressed patients have poor adherence to antidepressant medications, identifying an important challenge for "usual care."
- Group Health researchers show that a bicycle helmet campaign is cost-effective, increases use of helmets, and reduces admission rates for head injuries.
- NCI funds the Breast Cancer Surveillance Project, a consortium that now links mammography and cancer data from eight institutions nationwide. CHS serves as its Statistical Coordinating Center.
- Research at Group Health, confirmed by subsequent studies, shows that less expensive, diuretic therapy for hypertension is associated with reduced risk of cardiac arrest compared with widely used drugs that cost more.
- The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) publishes a University of Washington(UW)/CHS study of collaborative depression care showing that patients benefit from psychiatry/primary-care partnership.
- JAMA publishes UW/CHS study that links short-acting calcium channel blockers to increased risk of heart attacks in some patients.
- The MacColl Institute develops the "Chronic Care Model," now used by thousands of health care systems worldwide to guide quality improvement efforts for diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
- New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) publishes CHS' chlamydia screening study, leading to changes in national guidelines.
- CHS leaders set up the HMO Research Network (HMORN), linking 13 health plans nationwide. By 2008, the HMORN had grown to 15 members.
- Research at Group Health shows a link between primary care physicians' management of AIDS care and their patients' increased survival, pointing the way to improved care for this population.
- In the NEJM, Group Health researchers speak out against efforts by special interest groups to intimidate researchers whose results are contrary to their economic interest.
- Total number of active grants to CHS tops 150.
- Group Health and the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell demonstrate that frail seniors benefit from a community-based program linked to primary care. This program becomes a national model for geriatric care.
- Group Health research shows that back pain patients have similar long-term outcomes whether they receive physical therapy, chiropractic care, or educational materials.
- NEJM publishes CHS research that shows coverage for smoking cessation increases quit rates.
- CHS annual grant revenue tops $10 million.
- Group Health researchers find in a World Health Organization (WHO) study that physical symptoms are common among depressed patients worldwide, but the presentation of physical symptoms is less common in countries where patients have an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician.
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launches its national Improving Chronic Illness Care program with the MacColl Institute serving as its national program office.
- NCI funds the HMO Cancer Research Network (CRN), combining the data systems of 14 health plans to study cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, long-term care, and surveillance. Led by CHS, the CRN is soon considered a model of multi-site collaboration.
- CHS annual grant revenue tops $20 million.
- Susan Curry, PhD becomes CHS director. Ed Wagner stays to direct the MacColl Institute.
- Research among Group Health seniors shows that low-dose hydrochlorothiazide (HCT, a common, low-cost antihypertensive) preserves bone mineral density at the hip and spine.
- CHS and the Group Health Foundation sponsor the first annual Hilde and Bill Birnbaum Endowed Lecture on Benefiting Patients through Health Care Research.
- Archives of Internal Medicine publishes CHS/Harvard/UW research on alternative care for back pain.
- Group Health researchers find that improving diabetic patients' control of blood sugar levels reduces health care costs.
- Group Health participates in a multi-center study showing that recognizing and treating depression among the elderly improves quality-of-life outcomes. Also, treating depression among patients with arthritis reduces pain and improves function.
- Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, named CHS director.
- Annals of Internal Medicine publishes CHS/UW research showing that low-dose thiazides can increase bone density in older women.
- Group Health researchers show that pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine prevents bacteremia among the elderly, but doesn't prevent more common nonbacteremic pneumonia.
- CHS study shows "planned care" model of asthma care reduces children's symptoms.
- A CHS study demonstrated that yoga is more effective than conventional exercise for back pain.
- Exercise is linked to later onset of dementia, CHS research reveals.
- CHS is one of 10 sites nationally to receive a National Institutes of Health Roadmap Grant to increase the efficiency of promoting scientific advances from theory to practice.
- CHS researchers find that technology (computer-assisted detection) can't replace doctors' judgment in reading mammograms.
- In a study of the Group Health population, CHS research reveals intimate partner violence to be widespread and to harm women's health.
- CHS begins evaluation of the "medical home" model of primary care.
- MacColl Institute Director, Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, wins 2007 Health Quality Award from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for helping to substantially improve U.S. health care quality.
- CHS receives a $23.7 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to establish a Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU).
- CHS Executive Director Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, and MacColl Institute Director Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, are elected to the Institute of Medicine.
- CHS researchers publish a case-control study in Lancet showing that flu shots may not protect seniors as well as formerly was thought. The study, based on CHS meta-analysis of past studies, shows seniors who get flu shots have no less risk of pneumonia than those who don't.
- In JAMA, a CHS study of online care for hypertension shows that home monitoring and Web-based care nearly doubles the proportion of patients successfully controlling high blood pressure.
- CHS celebrates its 25th anniversary by hosting a national summit to study the integrated care model as a catalyst for health reform.
- In August, Group Health researchers begin testing an experimental vaccine to prevent the 2009 H1N1 (swine) flu. The study is one of the nation's first clinical trials of an H1N1 flu vaccine. The trials are being conducted at eight VTEUs nationwide.
- On September 8, 2009, after months of preparatory work, the change to Group Health Research Institute becomes official.
- GHRI's two-year evaluation of Group Health's medical home shows that, compared to controls, this primary care model results in better quality, better patient experience, and less clinician burnout. Patients had fewer emergency visits and hospitalizations, resulting in net savings. The evaluation prompted Group Health to spread the medical home to all 26 of its medical centers.