James D. Ralston, MD, MPH

“My work focuses on helping health care providers use information technologies to engage patients and their family members outside of traditional in-person visits.”

James D. Ralston, MD, MPH

Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator
Group Health Physician, Internal Medicine

Biography

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 new information and communication technologies 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. 

Research interests and experience

Recent publications

Mosley JD, Shaffer CM, Van Driest SL, Weeke PE, Wells QS, Karnes JH, Velez Edwards DR, Wei WQ, Teixeira PL, Bastarache L, Crawford DC, Li R, Manolio TA, Bottinger EP, McCarty CA, Linneman JG, Brilliant MH, Pacheco JA, Thompson W, Chisholm RL, Jarvik GP, Crosslin DR, Carrell DS, Baldwin E, Ralston J, Larson EB, Grafton J, Scrol A, Jouni H, Kullo IJ, Tromp G, Borthwick KM, Kuivaniemi H, Carey DJ, Ritchie MD, Bradford Y, Verma SS, Chute CG, Veluchamy A, Siddiqui MK, Palmer CN, Doney A, MahmoudPour SH, Maitland-van der Zee AH, Morris AD, Denny JC, Roden DM. A genome-wide association study identifies variants in KCNIP4 associated with ACE inhibitor-induced cough. Pharmacogenomics J. 2015 Jul 14. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2015.51. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Trinidad SB, Coffin TB, Fullerton SM, Ralston J, Jarvik GP, Larson EB. "Getting off the bus closer to your destination": patients' views about pharmacogenetic testing. Perm J. 2015 Jun 1. doi: 10.7812/TPP/15-046. [Epub ahead of print].

Eschler J, Kendall L, O'Leary K, Vizer LM, Lozano P, McClure JB, Pratt W, Ralston JD. Shared calendars for home health management. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (CSCW '15). 2015; ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1277-88. doi:10.1145/2675133.2675168.

Saberi P, Catz SL, Leyden WA, Stewart C, Ralston JD, Horberg MA, Grothaus L, Silverberg MJ. Antiretroviral therapy adherence and use of an electronic shared medical record among people living with HIV. AIDS Behav. 2015 Jan 9 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed