GHRI strengths

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Access to the Group Health member population

Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) researchers have access to Group Health's comprehensive data systems, electronic medical records, and clinical and administrative staff. This enables the Institute's scientists to conduct research within a population of more than 600,000 residents of Washington state and Idaho. Most of this population gets its care and coverage through a single health plan, allowing GHRI researchers to explore how innovations can help contain costs and improve health outcomes. And because much of this large, stable, insured membership receives its treatment, prescription drugs, and insurance coverage from a single system, researchers get a full view of the population's experience as it happens naturally over time.

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Two-way learning relationships with Group Health and other health care systems

GHRI works with Group Health providers and administrators to create a two-way "learning health care system." Through this relationship, the Institute helps Group Health design and implement innovations in health care practice. Institute researchers then draw data from those demonstrations, analyzing and sharing that information with the care-delivery system to spur further groundbreaking improvements.

This two-way learning approach extends beyond the Institute's relationship with Group Health. For instance, GHRI's MacColl Center for Healthcare Innovation has used Group Health's care-delivery experiences as a foundation for innovative work within other health care organizations nationwide. Examples include MacColl's development and dissemination of the Chronic Care Model and the patient-centered medical home model. By introducing and studying such innovations in a variety of settings, the Center has become a leader in quality improvement.  

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An interdisciplinary approach

The Institute's faculty and affiliate investigators at other institutions represent a range of academic backgrounds including medicine, epidemiology, health services, biostatistics, behavioral health, and economics. Health scientists from these fields form teams to conduct rigorously designed research on many related to health and health care. This interdisciplinary approach promotes creative thinking, while ensuring that GHRI research stays relevant to the most pressing and emergent needs in health care.

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Collaboration with research networks and other institutions  

GHRI leverages its resources and capabilities by engaging with health scientists at leading universities and other health plans nationwide.

Partners include the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, and many major universities, including the University of Washington, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan.

As a founder of the 19-member HMO Research Network, GHRI researchers often play key roles in multisite studies with other research institutions that are based in large health systems like Group Health. Combining data can create study populations of more than 10 million people. Such collaboration adds statistical power, reach, and diversity to research on the frequency of adverse events, the safety of vaccines and medications, and the effectiveness of various screening methods, treatments, and more.

The HMORN's hallmark project is the National Cancer Institute-funded Cancer Research Network (CRN), founded by the Institute's Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, and focused on gaining new insight into cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, long-term care, and surveillance. An unparalleled research lab for investigating cancer, the CRN is hailed as a model of multisite collaboration.

GHRI researchers also play a significant role in the University of Washington's Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health—a program that strengthens links between academic research and communities in need. The CTSA's current project focuses on health improvement among Native American and rural communities.

In addition, GHRI serves as the Statistical Coordinating Center for the eight-member Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. GHRI also collaborates on immunization research as one of eight federally funded Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Units.

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Alignment with Group Health's mission and values

According to its mission statement, "Group Health exists to design, finance and deliver high-quality health care." And scientific discipline is among the organization's core values. Throughout its history, Group Health has supported scientific inquiry to benefit all, so it makes sense that the organization fully supports the Institute in its mission to improve health and health care for everyone through leading-edge research, innovation, and dissemination.

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Financial conflict of interest (FCOI) policy

Group Health Research Institute is committed to conducting research in a manner that ensures the integrity of the research process and research program. GHRI conducts research in accordance with Public Health Service (PHS) regulations:

 

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