$2,45 million in grants awarded to explore how technology can change care

Boston 04 October 2004Six new research projects designed to assess the efficacy of Web-based patient-provider portals have been awarded grants by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through its Health e-Technologies Initiative national programme.


Patient-provider portals, unique, secure Internet-based sites containing a range of software tools and functions that are accessible by patients and their providers - are gaining popularity. Early evidence suggests that some of the functions being offered via portals have the capacity to improve the processes, outcomes and quality of care for health behaviour change and chronic disease management. However, limited research has been conducted to determine their effectiveness in improving the health of the patients who use them.

"We believe science-based research is the best way to ensure families and patients have information and tools they can rely on when their health is on the line", stated David K. Ahern, Ph.D., national programme director for the Health e-Technologies Initiative. "The $2,45 million in grants we are announcing today should help advance our nation's understanding of these tools. The grants also continue Health e-Technologies record of ambitious innovation and contribute to our clearinghouse of the emerging evidence and knowledge base required to lead the science of eHealth and build better eHealth programmes."

The selected grantees will evaluate the effectiveness of portals as they relate to improving patient-provider communication, containing costs, providing reliable health information, reducing medical errors, and enhancing efficiency.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, New Jersey, is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grantmaking in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to quality health care at reasonable cost; to improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse such as tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.

The list of grantees includes:

  • Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Weight Management for a Defined Employee Population Using an Interactive eHealth Portal - Two-year grant totaling $398.851 - Contact: Dr. Paul Hartlaub
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts - Improving Chronic Disease Care with PatientSite - Two-year grant totaling $399.980 - Contact: Dr. Lisa Iezzoni
  • Geisinger Health, Danville, Pennsylvania - Does Access to an EHR Patient Portal Influence Chronic Disease Outcomes? A Randomized Trial Assessing Clinical and Behavioural Change Outcomes in Patients with CHF, Diabetes or Secondary CVD - Two-year grant totaling $399.028 - Contact: Dr. Walter F. Stewart
  • HispaniCare, Roswell, Georgia - Evaluation of the MiDieta (MyDiet) eHealth Portal to Facilitate Improved Diets, Increased Fitness-Levels, and Weight-Loss among U.S. Hispanics - Two-year grant totaling $400.000 - Contact: Dr. Dirk Schroeder
  • The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio - The Potential of Technology to Improve Chronic Disease Management and Quality of Care - Two-year grant totaling $399.830 - Contact: Dr. C. Martin Harris
  • University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, Colorado - D-STAR (Diabetes-System To Access Records): An Online Patient Portal to Improve and Sustain Diabetes Self-Care - Two-year grant totaling $397.099 - Contact: Dr. Stephen E. Ross

You can visit the Web site of the Health e-Technologies Initiative for more information on the programme's extensive research portfolio and to access the literature library, collaboration community, editorial pieces and a comprehensive resource centre.

Leslie Versweyveld

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