PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s Center for Evidence-based Practice, in partnership with the ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to researching approaches to improve patient care, has been selected by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) as one of its 11 Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs).

This new EPC designation will allow ECRI Institute and Penn Medicine clinicians and researchers to bid for projects through AHRQ to review and synthesize literature on preventive, therapeutic and diagnostic interventions to assess which are most beneficial to patients. The work informs clinical practice guidelines for physicians and educational materials for patients, as well as health-care-related decisions by the federal government, states, and national medical societies, such as those related to the development of new measures of clinical effectiveness and quality.

“We are extremely excited to partner with ECRI on the synthesis of those research findings most important to our patients’ health,” says Craig A. Umscheid, MD, MS, a hospitalist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, director of the Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice, and Senior Associate Director of the newly formed ECRI Institute-Penn Medicine EPC. “ECRI’s objectivity and methodologic soundness set the standard for the field of research synthesis.  Combined with the breadth and depth of our faculty’s clinical and research expertise, and our Center’s local experience in supporting patient care through research synthesis and dissemination, we’ll be positioned to make a real difference.”

There are no specific dollar amounts that are guaranteed from winning this designation, but the designation itself allows the ECRI-Penn EPC as well as the  other 10 AHRQ EPCs to compete for up to $50 million worth of contracts from AHRQ in the next five years.

“We are pleased and honored to hold the trust of AHRQ and the healthcare system more broadly in advancing the science of systematic review to assess the effectiveness of healthcare interventions and practices based on outcomes that matter to patients,” says Karen Schoelles, MD, SM, director of the ECRI Institute-Penn Medicine EPC.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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