Kaiser receives $54 million in EMR research grants

The National Institutes of Health awarded the money from the federal stimulus bill.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan — Posted Nov. 10, 2009

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Having what it calls the nation's largest civilian health record database has earned Kaiser Permanente $54 million in public grants.

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Kaiser Permanente 22 grants worth more than $54 million that will paid out over two years. The money was made available as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The largest grant, worth $25 million, will be used to conduct genotype testing on 100,000 Kaiser members participating in the Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health, which Kaiser says is the largest population-based bio-bank in the United States. The grant will be shared with the University of California, San Francisco's Institute for Human Genetics, which will perform the actual genotyping.

Genetic information will be linked to the RPGEH health surveys, disease registries and Kaiser's electronic medical record system, so researchers can look at ways environmental influences, such as air and water quality and access to healthy foods and recreation space, affect health.

A separate grant worth $4 million will be used to study personalized medicine and genomic testing for colon cancer.

With a $7.2 million grant, Kaiser will also be developing a cardiovascular surveillance system for the 14 different health plans that belong to the Cardiovascular Research Network, which represents 11 million patients.

"Kaiser Permanente is proud to be part of what President Obama called the 'single largest boost to biomedical research in history.' It's our mission to find answers to medicine's complex questions, so that everyone can have better care," said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president of research and health policy for Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, in a prepared statement.

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