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Weill Cornell-Led Consortium Wins $7 Million to Develop New York Patient Data Network

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A consortium led by Dr. Rainu Kaushal at Weill Cornell Medical College and involving nearly two dozen New York City health care systems and organizations has been awarded $7 million in funding to develop a city-wide research data infrastructure that will ultimately enable area patients and providers to make better-informed clinical decisions.

Dr. Rainu Kaushal
Photo credit: John Abbott

The award, announced by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute on Dec. 17, will enable the consortium, known as the New York City Clinical Data Research Network, to establish a data network that will securely collect, store and share comprehensive medical histories for as many as 6 million consenting patients. Researchers say the initiative will provide the most thorough and detailed snapshot of patient care in New York — information critical to determining how effective and economical existing health care treatments and delivery models are and how they compare against each other.

The consortium includes the six existing Clinical and Translational Science Award Centers at the city's medical schools and universities — Weill Cornell Medical College, College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NYU School of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Rockefeller University — as well as the four associated academic medical centers, a practice-based research network, a genome center, a research support organization and the new CornellNYC Tech campus. It also includes leadership roles for five patient-engagement organizations, and strong support from the New York State Department of Health, which is also using data networks to advance clinical care.

"This has the potential to improve clinical research and health care delivery in New York City in unparalleled ways," said Dr. Kaushal, who will become chair of Weill Cornell's Department of Healthcare Policy and Research on Jan. 1. "We have never had the opportunity or access to such complete information on our patients in order to best facilitate their care. I think it's tremendously exciting to see these medical institutions come together and make strides towards our common goal, which is to improve the value and quality of health care for patients."

The New York group is one of 29 such networks the institute approved for development. Backed by $93.5 million from the institute, they will constitute the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, or PCORnet, whose mission is to boost the efficiency of health research. The independent nonprofit, authorized by Congress, funds research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with evidence-based information to make informed health care decisions.

The research network will include clinical, patient-reported, patient-generated, bio-specimen, claims, registry and study-specific data on a cross-section of patients who obtain their health care at the participating institutions and who represent the diversity of New York City. The research network will work in conjunction with the federal government and the New York State Department of Health to obtain Medicare and Medicaid information.

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