News Release

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NIH funds will strengthen national capacity for cost-effective, large-scale clinical studies

Funds, totaling approximately $11.3 million, will support the first year of the Health Care Systems (HCS) Research Collaboratory, which will engage health care systems as research partners in conducting large-scale clinical studies. The funds are managed through the Common Fund at the National Institutes of Health.

Health care systems, which include health maintenance organizations and other large integrated care settings, see large populations of patients. By partnering with these entities, NIH will be able to conduct large-scale and more cost-effective clinical research within the settings where patients are already receiving their care.

"The HCS Research Collaboratory represents a paradigm shift in clinical research. These institutions will move us beyond traditional methods of participant-level randomized clinical trials to more broad-based, real-world settings," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "Partnerships with health care systems offer an opportunity to transform research and ultimately improve America’s health."

Health care delivery organizations have played valuable roles in a number of research projects and health surveillance activities funded by NIH and other agencies. The HCS Research Collaboratory aims to expand this partnership. These initial awards will develop implementation methods and best practices that will enable the participation of multiple health care systems in conducting high impact clinical studies.

These awards establish a coordinating center that will provide national leadership and technical expertise in all aspects of research with health care systems. The awards will also support the design and rapid execution of seven high-impact clinical trial demonstration projects. The trials will address several relevant medical conditions that impact health in the United States, such as assessing ways to prevent hospital-acquired infections and ways to improve screening for colon cancer. The HCS Research Collaboratory will make data, tools, and resources from these projects available to the greater research community to facilitate a broadened base of research partnerships with health care systems.

"We are excited about the opportunity to utilize the resources and expertise of networks of health care organizations for the benefit of research," said James M. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the NIH Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, which includes the NIH Common Fund. "The Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory program will provide a framework of implementation methods and best practices that will enable the participation of many health care systems in clinical research."

The eight awards funded as part of the collaboratory include the HCS Research Collaboratory Coordinating Center (Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Dr. Robert M. Califf) and the following seven pragmatic clinical trial demonstration projects:

  • Decreasing Bioburden to Reduce Health Care-Associated Infections and Readmissions, University of California, Irvine; Dr. Susan Huang
  • Strategies and Opportunities to Stop Colon Cancer in Priority Populations, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Portland, Ore.; Dr. Gloria Coronado
  • Pragmatic Trial of Population-based Programs to Prevent Suicide Attempt, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle; Dr. Gregory Simon
  • A Pragmatic Trial of Lumbar Image Reporting with Epidemiology (LIRE), University of Washington, Seattle; Dr. Jeffrey Jarvik
  • Nighttime Dosing of Anti-Hypertensive Medications: A Pragmatic Clinical Trial, University of Iowa, Iowa City; Dr. Gary Rosenthal
  • Collaborative Care for Chronic Pain in Primary Care, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Portland, Ore.; Dr. Lynn DeBar
  • Pragmatic Trials in Maintenance Hemodialysis, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Dr. Laura M. Dember

The NIH Common Fund supports a series of exceptionally high impact research programs that are broadly relevant to health and disease. Common Fund programs are designed to overcome major research barriers and pursue emerging opportunities for the benefit of the biomedical research community at large. The research products of Common Fund programs are expected to catalyze disease-specific research supported by the NIH Institutes and Centers. Additional information about the NIH Common Fund can be found at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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