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Kaiser Permanente - Stanford Heart Research Center Funded to Study Treatment Outcomes
Date:8/11/2008

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association has awarded Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research in Oakland and Stanford University Medical Center $3.89 million over the next four years to establish jointly a new heart research center that aims to define optimal clinical care for patients with coronary heart disease and chronic heart failure.

The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and Stanford Medical Center will conduct large-scale observational effectiveness and safety studies of therapies for these diseases by leveraging Kaiser Permanente's large, detailed and longitudinal clinical databases, and by using the research expertise of both Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and Stanford scientists.

The American Heart Association -- Pharmaceutical Roundtable (AHA-PRT) Outcomes Research Center is co-led by Dr. Mark Hlatky, professor of Health Research and Policy and professor of Medicine at Stanford, and Dr. Alan Go, senior research scientist at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and regional medical director of clinical trials. Several other Kaiser Permanente Division of Research investigators are co-investigators and research mentors.

The first two studies by the new center will use state-of-the-art analytic research methods to evaluate the effectiveness of various pharmacologic therapies and emerging technologies in patients with a variety of heart conditions. These treatments include prescription drugs, implanted devices such as stents and defibrillators, and procedures such as coronary bypass surgery.

"This joint center between Kaiser Permanente and Stanford builds on our long history of successful collaboration in cardiovascular research," said Dr. Go. "We believe that the complementary research expertise at our two institutions, combined with the large, diverse Kaiser population and clinically rich longitudinal databases, will help us answer critical questions about optimizing the management and outcomes of coronary disease and chronic heart failure in the current treatment era. Our center also will help to train the next generation of cardiovascular outcomes researchers. We look forward to collaborating with the other AHA Outcomes Research Centers on even larger-scale projects in the future."

The AHA-PRT will involve Ralph Brindis, MD, MPH, cardiologist and senior advisor on cardiovascular diseases for The Permanente Medical Group, and vice president of the American College of Cardiology, who will provide an experienced clinical, organizational, and national perspective as questions are formulated and addressed.

The Stanford-Kaiser Permanente Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Center is one of three new centers to receive funds from the AHA to improve the nation's cardiovascular health by investigating the best possible treatments for heart disease. The other centers are at Duke University and at UCLA.

"The core of the AHA-PRT center is our plan to link together the various electronic databases used for patient care at Kaiser Permanente," said Dr. Hlatky. This will be the first effort making use of all the medical databases for Kaiser Permanente's 3.3 million members throughout Northern California to investigate the use and outcomes of the various treatment options for heart disease patients. "Our goal is to identify a representative population of patients who have coronary disease or heart failure and document which treatments they are getting and how well those treatments are working," he said.

This AHA award follows another huge collaborative research effort led by Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research to understand cardiovascular disease: the Cardiovascular Research Network. Established last year through a $7.5 million grant by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Cardiovascular Research Network is leveraging the collective cardiovascular expertise, diverse community-based study populations and rich electronic data systems within 15 HMOs in the HMO Research Network to better study the epidemiology, prevention, management and outcomes of cardiovascular diseases. For more information about CVRN, visit http://www.dor.kaiser.org/studies/cvrn/

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death among Americans. Yet for the 3.3 million Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California, the chance of dying of a heart attack or stroke is 30 percent lower than average because of Kaiser Permanente's evidence-based cardiovascular Healthy Heart program. For more information about the Healthy Heart program, visit http://www.permanente.net/healthyheart/

About Kaiser Permanente Division of Research

The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research conducts, publishes, and disseminates epidemiologic and health services research to improve the health and medical care of Kaiser Permanente members and the society at large. It seeks to understand the determinants of illness and well-being and to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Currently, DOR's 400-plus staff is working on more than 250 epidemiological and health services research projects.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, the program is headquartered in Oakland, Calif. Kaiser Permanente serves 8.7 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Today it encompasses Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the Permanente Medical Groups. Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente includes approximately 159,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and 14,000 physicians representing all specialties. The organization's Labor Management Partnership is the largest such health care partnership in the United States. It governs how more than 130,000 workers, managers, physicians and dentists work together to make Kaiser Permanente the best place to receive care, and the best place to work. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit the KP News Center at: http://xnet.kp.org/newscenter


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