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$15 Million Grant To Aid Cardiovascular Health

New research alliance will investigate strategies to improve health care quality in three states

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May 27, 2015 | by Marla Paul

CHICAGO --- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine a $15 million grant to establish a new multidisciplinary consortium focused on quality improvement and the prevention of strokes and heart attacks. 

The consortium, known as the Healthy Hearts in the Heartland, will assist 300 independent clinics and health care centers in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin in implementing projects to improve cardiovascular health in the population. 

“This project will provide important insights into how doctors and other health care providers can best enact and sustain strategies for evidence-based quality improvement in cardiovascular health,” said Dr. Abel Kho, principal investigator for the project, assistant professor of medicine at Feinberg and director of Feinberg’s Center for Health Information Partnerships.

Partners in the alliance will help providers and clinics use population-based tools and implement performance measurement software. Practices will focus on prescribing appropriate aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation, and promoting healthier lifestyles and community resources to patients. Regional assessments will help these practices evaluate and improve their performance. 

While these strategies have demonstrated improvements in well-resourced institutions and large health care systems, it is unclear whether independent practices with limited resources can effectively apply them. To determine the success of these improvement strategies, the consortium will conduct a research project in conjunction with provider support. 

“Feinberg has a long history of innovative research in cardiovascular disease and its prevention,” said Dr. Eric G. Neilson, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean at Feinberg. “The new consortium is well-positioned to continue that tradition.” 

Members of Healthy Hearts in the Heartland include Northwestern University and the Chicago Health IT Regional Extension Center (CHITREC), Purdue University and the Purdue Regional Extension Center (PurdueREC), Northern Illinois University and the Illinois Regional Extension Center (IL-HITREC), local and state departments of public health, the American Medical Association, the Alliance of Chicago, University of Chicago, Telligen (Illinois’ Medicare Quality Improvement Organization) and Metastar (a Quality Improvement Organization and Regional Extension Center for Wisconsin).  

The consortium is supported by Feinberg’s Center for Health Information Partnerships (CHIP), which brings people, communities and data together to enable individuals to live their healthiest lives. CHIP is part of Feinberg’s Institute of Public Health and Medicine. 

Learn more about CHIP here: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/sites/ipham/centers/health-information-partnerships.html

Topics: Health