Perfecting Pediatric Therapeutics is Goal of $3.9 Million Federal Grant Awarded to Cincinnati Children's

Hospital Selected to be One of Four New National Centers on Therapeutic Research/Education

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has been awarded a four-year, $3.9 million grant by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish a center that will use quality improvement science to close the gap between new scientific discoveries and the clinical practice of pediatric therapeutics. The medical center will be one of four new national Centers for Education and Research in Therapeutics (CERTs) that operate in cooperation with the AHRQ, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Including those announced today, there are 14 CERTs centers in the country. The program at Cincinnati Children's will be the only one focused on children, said Carole Lannon, MD, principal investigator of the CERTs at Cincinnati Children's and co-director of the Center for Health Care Quality, part of the medical center's Division of Health Policy and Clinical Effectiveness. During the grant's four-year duration, Cincinnati Children's will study the safe and effective use of medications in treating children and conduct research on how knowing a patient's genetic makeup can help in selecting the most appropriate drug and dosage.

"Our goal is to improve outcomes for children by developing new knowledge and making sure that emerging evidence about the use of effective therapeutics coincides with what is actually done in practice," Dr. Lannon said. "We want to learn what treatments are most effective and how we can use these strategies to improve health outcomes and promote safety for children."

As part of its CERTs designation, Cincinnati Children's will undertake four pilot projects to develop evidence-based research and educational programs in effective therapeutics and patient safety, including:

  • A study to determine if pharmacogenetic testing for drug metabolizing enzymes improves outcomes by optimizing treatment and reducing adverse side effects in pediatric patients who take risperidone for behavioral disorders. The study will tap into the internationally renowned expertise of Cincinnati Children's in the developing area of pharmacogenetics, which determines drug effectiveness and safety based on a patient's individual genetic makeup.
  • A study to improve safety for hospitalized children by using the best practices of high-reliability organizations to develop a system of indicators for detecting, understanding and preventing adverse patient outcomes that are medication-related.
  • A third study will develop and test changes in care guidelines for children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and determine how to incorporate improved methods into practice. The study will involve a national network of health care professionals who treat pediatric IBD with the goal of improving medication management and growth in these children.
  • The fourth study will address the federal legislative mandate of CERTs by identifying and evaluating specific performance improvement measures that promote the effective use of drugs in patient care. This project will be done in collaboration with national organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Board of Pediatrics.

Findings from these projects will be disseminated to caregivers, families, academic colleagues and policymakers. The CERTs team will include a research core that supports clinicians and scientists at Cincinnati Children's and elsewhere in developing and testing innovative therapeutics and education programs. This includes coordinating with other researchers and physicians at Cincinnati Children's to combine the medical center's strong foundation in basic science, innovation, quality improvement, patient safety, health services research, large database analysis, quality of life and chronic illness care.

"Cincinnati Children's is an ideal setting for this program because of our expertise in pharmacogenetics, the implementation of evidence-based care guidelines, quality improvement science and collaboration across organizations to improve the care and outcomes for children and families," said Uma R. Kotagal, MBBS, MSc, senior vice president of Quality and Transformation and director of Health Policy and Clinical Effectiveness. "During this project we will bring together the considerable multidisciplinary knowledge of this institution in scientific discovery, evidence-based care and quality improvement."

Other core investigators from Cincinnati Children's involved in the CERTs program include: Peter Margolis, MD, PhD, co-director, Center for Health Care Quality; Gerry Fairbrother, PhD, a senior researcher in Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Tracy Glauser, MD,Division of Neurology; Stephen Muething, MD, assistant vice president of Patient Safety, and Michael Seid, PhD, a researcher in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine.

Dr. Lannon joined Cincinnati Children's in 2006 to help establish the Center for Health Care Quality, a merger of the nationally known Center for Children's Healthcare Improvement (formerly at the University of North Carolina) into the division for Health Policy and Clinical Effectiveness. Since adopting a vision statement in 1996 to be the leader in improving child health, Cincinnati Children's has invested heavily in quality improvement and the practice of personalized and predictive medicine, receiving national recognition for its efforts.

Cincinnati Children's, one of the top five children's hospitals in the nation according to Child magazine, is a 475-bed institution devoted to bringing the world the joy of healthier kids. Cincinnati Children's is dedicated to providing care that is timely, efficient, effective, family-centered, equitable and safe. For its efforts to transform the way health care is provided, Cincinnati Children's received the 2006 American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize. Cincinnati Children's ranks second nationally among all pediatric centers in research grants from the National Institutes of Health and is a teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The Cincinnati Children's vision is to be the leader in improving child health.

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Nick Miller