CTSI Joins Great Plains Collaborative to Share Huge Amounts of Research Data

CTSI Joins Great Plains Collaborative to Share Huge Amounts of Research Data

A challenge for most clinical research institutions is accruing enough patients to make study results meaningful, particularly in cases involving rare diseases.  The same holds true for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI) and its partner organizations.  Now, that is changing.  A nearly 7 million dollar grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has created The Great Plains Collaborative (GPC) linking 10 medical centers in seven states including MCW, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Marshfield Clinic here in Wisconsin.  Together, the three Wisconsin organizations care for roughly 70 percent of the state’s population representing a broad and geographically diverse group to be studied.

“The GPC, part of the Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet), will increase the number of patient records accessible to Collaborative members exponentially,” said Bradley W. Taylor, MCW’s Chief Research Informatics Officer and Co-Principal Investigator on the grant.  “All patient information will be de-identified so no individual patient information can be connected to their personal information.”

“This process is much more productive when researchers have an adequate amount of patient data to use in testing their new hypotheses and research,” said Dr. Reza Shaker, Director of the CTSI of Southeast Wisconsin.  “Soon, researchers from across Wisconsin and across the country will have access to such data due in part to the CTSI and the other academic institutions here in the Midwest.”

MCW will receive approximately $500,000 and will build upon existing partnerships and our CTSI network. The project is funded through the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, an independent nonprofit organization authorized by the Affordable Care Act that receives federal funding.

The GPC, as group, has identified three initial disorders to focus the research data-sharing structure. Those include: breast cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and childhood obesity. These studies, along with common health conditions, will benefit as well because the larger the number of patient histories available, the faster and more efficiently researchers will be able to identify patterns, commonalities and insights into possible disease causes, as well as treatments.

Greater Plains Collaborative partners by state are: Iowa, University of Iowa Healthcare; Kansas, the University of Kansas Medical Center; Missouri, Children’s Mercy Hospital; Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center; Nebraska, the University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Texas, the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Wisconsin, UW-Madison, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Marshfield Clinic.

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