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HealthCore Invites Community-based Practitioners to Participate in 'Real-world' Research Network
Date:6/9/2009

IRN(sm) responds to demand for post-approval, observational research initiatives, patient registries and comparative effectiveness studies

WILMINGTON, Del., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians will get the opportunity to influence comparative effectiveness research and broad medical practice through participation in the Integrated Research Network, a collaborative research community, which HealthCore, Inc. is launching this summer.

Physicians may now register for the Integrated Research Network at https://irn.healthcore.com/irn/application/application.php.

HealthCore, the outcomes research subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc., has developed the Integrated Research Network partly in preparation for prospective effectiveness research studies and potential comparative effectiveness grants from the $1.1 billion grant program administered by the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

HealthCore will also work with the IRN(sm) to produce registries and studies focusing on product safety, observational and prospective effectiveness research.

The IRN(sm) is currently registering practicing physicians in internal medicine, family practice, general practice, rheumatology, cardiology, endocrinology, psychiatry, oncology and gastroenterology. Specifically, HealthCore is exploring several opportunities in the areas of heart failure, antibiotic resistance, autism, Type 2 diabetes and breast cancer.

"As a practicing cardiologist for more than a decade, I anticipate that the IRN will help practicing physicians determine disparities in care, deliver better quality of care and provide safety data beyond clinical trials," said Dr. Javed Butler, director of heart failure research for the cardiology division of Emory University School of Medicine and a member of the IRN(sm) advisory board. "In my field, we can improve significantly on prevention aspects of cardiovascular disease and control of risk factors, which will help decrease the risk not only for heart failure but strokes and heart attacks."

"The IRN(sm) is designed to help me and others obtain patient clinical and lifestyle information to better treat our patients," Butler said. "In addition, the IRN(sm) can also help us prepare for outpatient quality measures that will eventually tie payment to quality of care."

The IRN(sm), a collaborative research community, brings together physicians, hospital leaders, clinical researchers, pharmacists and other health care providers to identify clinical issues for study, provide clinical data for ongoing studies, respond to health surveys, and recruit and enroll patients in comparative effectiveness studies in real-world settings. The IRN(sm) can also provide practice diversification and additional income to physicians who choose to participate in specific studies.

"Not only will the IRN(sm) serve as the conduit for collecting information, but it will allow physicians to take a more hands-on role in shaping the studies," said Dr. Louise Short, IRN(sm) medical director for HealthCore. "Ultimately, the information the IRN(sm) produces will help health care providers personalize medicine for the individual patient and deliver safer, more efficient and higher quality health care."

Registered physicians who agree to be involved in a particular study can work with the IRN(sm) on an ongoing basis as subject matter experts advising on the type of data to be collected, recording clinical information and participating in prospective and comparative effectiveness studies. Physicians will be compensated for their involvement in research studies.

When data collection for a study is complete, this information can be combined with HealthCore's administrative claims information, including medical and pharmacy utilization, eligibility and benefit level information, and laboratory results on millions of patients. HealthCore's staff includes many high-level health service researchers who analyze data and produce study results that can be applied in real-word medical practice at the point of care.

"It's rare for research to combine administrative claims data with clinical data," said Short. "Yet, when we can integrate both types of data and draw on the clinical practice experience of hundreds of physicians in the IRN(sm) to make the data analyses more relevant, it helps us answer challenging medical questions in a way that is more relevant to everyday clinical practice."

One example of this is HealthCore's work on a two-year, multi-center prospective, observational study for patients with Type 2 diabetes on a specific therapy. The study is following outcomes and assessing the clinical effectiveness in a real-world setting.

HealthCore has worked with academia, government, pharmaceutical companies and health plans for more than 15 years and published hundreds of posters and manuscripts, with research appearing in publications such as the American Heart Journal, Health Affairs, Archives of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinical Proceedings, Clinical Therapy and Managed Care Pharmacy.

About HealthCore

HealthCore, based in Wilmington, Del., is the clinical outcomes research subsidiary of WellPoint. HealthCore has a team of highly experienced researchers including physicians, biostatisticians, pharmacists, epidemiologists, health economists and other scientists who study the "real world" safety and effectiveness of drugs, medical devices and care management interventions. HealthCore offers insight on how to best use this data and communicates these findings to health care decision-makers to support evidence-based medicine, product development decisions, safety monitoring, coverage decisions, process improvement and overall cost-effective health care. For more information, go to www.healthcore.com.


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SOURCE HealthCore and WellPoint, Inc.
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