James D. Ralston, MD, MPH
Associate Investigator, GHRI
Group Health Physician, Internal Medicine
Research interests and experience
How can health care be redesigned to better meet the needs and preferences of the millions of Americans living with chronic conditions? This question is at the heart of James Ralston’s research, compelling him to explore innovative designs of care that take advantage of new information technologies.
A general internist, Dr. Ralston joined Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) in 2003 to lead the Institute’s health informatics research program. But his expertise and interests go far beyond informatics. While much of Dr. Ralston’s work emphasizes information technologies as helpful components of care, they serve his true passion: that is, improving the health and health care of people who have common chronic conditions. This mission requires effectively evaluating new communication technologies that foster continuous care and a closer connection between patients and health care teams. In the past several years, Dr. Ralston has led and contributed to research showing that using the Internet to move care from the provider’s office to the patient’s home leads to promising outcomes.
Dr. Ralston’s commitment to finding effective redesigns of care spans all stages, from development to complete translation. With a team of GHRI and UW colleagues, he is helping evaluate Group Health’s “access initiative”—a suite of innovations designed to make health care easier to get, in part by leveraging advances in information technology, such as secure member Web sites and electronic medical records (EMRs). Dr. Ralston also collaborates with the informatics department at Group Health, and he sits on the oversight committee that explores how doctors can best use it to help patients.
Dr. Ralston provides outpatient consultation through Group Health Permanente’s Consultative Internal Medicine Group and is a volunteer medical advisor on the Steven’s Pass ski patrol. He is also an affiliate associate professor in health services at the UW, where he serves on student PhD and MPH committees.
Vodicka E, Mejilla R, Leveille SG, Ralston JD, Darer JD, Delbanco T, Walker J, Elmore JG. Online access to doctors' notes: patient concerns about privacy. J Med Internet Res. 2013 Sep 26;15(9):e208. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2670. PubMed
Fishman PA, Cook AJ, Ralston JD, Anderson M, Catz SL, Carrell D, Carlson J, Larson EB, Green BB. Improving BP control through electronic communications: an economic evaluation. Am J Manag Care. 2013;19(9):709-16.
Hartzler A, McCarty CA, Rasmussen LV, Williams MS, Brilliant M, Bowton EA, Clayton EW, Faucett WA, Ferryman K, Field JR, Fullerton SM, Horowitz CR, Koenig BA, McCormick JB, Ralston JD, Sanderson SC, Smith ME, Trinidad SB. Stakeholder engagement: a key component of integrating genomic information into electronic health records. Genet Med. 2013 Sep 12. doi: 10.1038/gim.2013.127 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Green BB, Anderson ML, Ralston JD, Catz SL, Cook AJ. Blood pressure 1 year after completion of web-based pharmacist care. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 May 20:1-3. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1037. PubMed
Lyles CR, Sarkar U, Ralston JD, Adler N, Schillinger D, Moffet HH, Huang ES, Karter AJ. Patient-provider communication and trust in relation to use of an online patient portal among diabetes patients: The Diabetes and Aging Study. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2013 May 15. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Harris LT, Koepsell TD, Haneuse SJ, Martin DP, Ralston JD. Glycemic control associated with secure patient-provider messaging within a shared electronic medical record: a longitudinal analysis. Diabetes Care. 2013 Sep;36(9):2726-33.doi: 10.2337/dc12-2003. Epub 2013 Apr 29. PubMed
Ralston JD, Silverberg MJ, Grothaus L, Leyden WA, Ross T, Stewart C, Carzasty S, Horberg M, Catz SL. Use of web-based shared medical records among patients with HIV. Am J Manag Care. 2013 Apr 1;19(4):e114-24.
Lyles CR, Grothaus L, Reid RJ, Sarkar U, Ralston JD. Communication about diabetes risk factors during between-visit encounters. Am J Manag Care. 2012;18(12):807-15. PubMed
McInnes DK, Brown JA, Hays RD, Gallagher P, Ralston JD, Hugh M, Kanter M, Serrato CA, Cosenza C, Halamka J, Ding L, Cleary PD. Development and evaluation of CAHPS questions to assess the impact of health information technology on patient experiences with ambulatory care. Med Care. 2012;50 Suppl:S11-9. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e3182610a50. PubMed
Delbanco T, Walker J, Bell SK, Darer JD, Elmore JG, Farag N, Feldman HJ, Mejilla R, Ngo L, Ralston JD, Ross SE, Trivedi N, Vodicka E, Leveille SG. Inviting patients to read their doctors' notes: a quasi-experimental study and a look ahead. Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(7):461-70. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-157-7-201210020-00002. PubMed
To view more publications, please see Dr. Ralston’s CV.