Children’s Health Services Research Center

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Children’s Health Services Research Center

Children’s Health Services Research Center at Indiana University School of Medicine is nationally recognized for its innovative work and the research services it provides to pediatricians throughout Indiana. Since its inception in 2001, the center has been working to improve the health and health care of children by developing and applying the best scientific evidence and methods in health services research. The center is a national leader in health policy research, analysis and advocacy.

Recognized for applying information and technology to improve child health care, team members at this center use health informatics, epidemiologic studies, health policy analysis, decision analysis and cost-effectiveness research to shape public health policy and improve care for pediatric patients. The center is the research arm of the Division of General and Community Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at IU School of Medicine.

Breadth of Expertise

The Children’s Health Services Research team focuses on today’s diverse issues affecting children, health care and health care providers. When established in 2001, a goal was set to focus on becoming the nation’s preeminent center for children’s health services research and informatics. Today, the Center for Children’s Health Services Research at IU School of Medicine is one of the largest and most active pediatric divisions of its kind in the United States and is recognized internationally for its leading-edge research and contributions to policy decisions related to children and health care issues. The Center for Children’s Health Services Research has developed significant programs and resources used throughout Indiana to help improve child health and health care policies.

Riley Physicians Quality Network

The Riley Physicians Quality Network, a partnership of IU School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children, provides quality-improvement projects for pediatric and family medicine practices in the state of Indiana to promote quality care for children and families. The network also offers Learning Collaborative Projects, resources and clinical tools for physicians. Physicians who participate in the network and meet minimum requirements have the opportunity to seek Part IV Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credit through the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). Request more information about the network.

Cores

CHIP IN

In 2011 the IU School of Medicine and the Indiana State Department of Health established the Children’s Health Improvement Partnership Indiana, known as CHIP IN. The mission of CHIP IN is to engage government agencies, professional medical organizations, insurers, family organizations and community partners in collaborative, measurement based, quality improvement initiatives. This happens by translating evidence-based practices into implementable steps, creating realistic and measurable quality improvements, and partnering with families and health care providers to improve care.

PResNet

One of the challenges of conducting clinical research is patient recruitment. Children’s Health Services Research established the Pediatric Research Network, also known as PResNet, to facilitate patient recruiting in an outpatient setting. The Pediatric Research Network also facilitates and supports a broad range of research initiatives originated by practitioners and investigators from within and from outside of the network.

Research Areas of Focus

Research conducted by the Children’s Health Services Research is concentrated within four priority areas.

Children’s Health Services Research operates one of the largest and most active pediatric informatics programs in the country. Physician scientists and software engineers in the Child Health Informatics Research and Development Lab use that data to develop information systems for use in routine clinical practice to capture and analyze health information. One such system is Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation, also known as CHICA, a computer-based pediatric clinical decision support system which improves the delivery of primary care to children.

Other examples of incorporating IT with pediatric research include the use of geostatistical data to study how physical and social environments impact children’s health; a cell phone application that monitors glucose to increase self-management behaviors in adolescents with diabetes; and use of global positioning systems to track the movement and context associated with risky behaviors among adolescent women.

Faculty members are active on committees that generate local and national health care guidelines and frequently present research evidence to legislators, administrators and other community members who determine health policy. One such example is the Medicaid Medical Advisory Cabinet, an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers who provide research-based policy advice to Indiana’s Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning so its members can make informed policy decisions. Other faculty members have provided leadership to the American Academy of Pediatrics Partnership for Policy Implementation, a program to integrate health information technology functionalities into AAP policy.

Efforts to help vulnerable children include longitudinal surveillance of families with children with special health care needs and partnering with centers that serve families who face linguistic or economic barriers to health care.

Children’s Health Services Research is a leader in the development of the OpenMRS, an open source medical record system platform for developing countries. Several faculty members are leaders in the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH), a partnership with Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kenya, and a consortium of North American academic health centers led by Indiana University, working in partnership with the Government of Kenya.

Leadership Team

Stephen M. Downs, MD,  MS

Stephen M. Downs, MD, MS

Jean and Jerry Bepko Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Downs research interests include computer-based decision effectiveness analysis and the application to guideline development and computer-based decision support.
Nancy L. Swigonski, MD

Nancy L. Swigonski, MD

Professor, School of Public Health
Dr. Swigonski’s work focuses on primary care, medical home, quality of life, improvement science, quality improvement, improvement partnerships, and children with special health care needs.
Sarah E. Wiehe, MD

Sarah E. Wiehe, MD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Wiehe's research focuses on how poverty and associated social determinants of health influence adolescent and young adult behaviors and health outcomes.