Newswise — LOS ANGELES (July 23, 2014 ) – Cedars-Sinai has launched an applied research center to improve the value of patient care inside the medical center and beyond its walls by strengthening patient-doctor bonds and bringing greater efficiency to the delivery of clinical services.

Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, will lead the new Cedars-Sinai Center for Outcomes Research and Education, or CS-CORE. As director of Health Services Research, he will oversee a digital health strategy aimed at enhancing healthcare quality and reducing excessive use of resources.

Spiegel’s team of investigators will seek to transform the way patients, doctors and hospitals communicate through innovations such as wearable biosensors that track patients’ vital signs and activities at home, transmitting data to electronic medical records. The researchers will develop computer programs that allow patients to explain their medical histories online at home, saving time and providing up-to-date information for doctors. The team also will explore social media as a clinical communication tool.

“Cedars-Sinai is a natural laboratory to test innovative solutions for delivering healthcare,” said Spiegel, who returns to the medical center after training as a Department of Medicine resident 16 years ago. “It’s a very exciting time to be engaged in this work. I think we can maintain and improve the value of healthcare for our patients while reducing costs.”

The research center represents a renewed effort at Cedars-Sinai to improve the value of patient care by enhancing quality and clinical efficiency. The initiative comes as Cedars-Sinai and other hospitals nationwide face mounting pressures to improve on these fronts. The Affordable Care Act and Medicare penalize hospitals that do not show progress on a range of quality, outcome and patient satisfaction measures.

Spiegel’s background makes him particularly suited to the task. He served as director of the UCLA/VA Center for Outcomes Research and Education, and he was section chief for education and training in UCLA Health’s Division of Digestive Diseases and director of that system’s Gastroenterology Fellowship Program.

Spiegel teaches courses on cost-effectiveness analysis and health analytics at the UCLA School of Public Health, where he earned a master’s degree in Health Services Research. He has published more than 130 manuscripts and three best-selling medical textbooks, and is a peer-reviewer and editorial board member or editor for numerous medical journals, including the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

“Dr. Spiegel is a perfect fit for the investigational work we’re undertaking to improve quality and cost-effectiveness,” said Scott Weingarten,” MD, MPH, senior vice president and chief clinical transformation officer. “We look forward to his many contributions in this important field of inquiry.”

Spiegel, a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Field Advisory Committee, will report to Weingarten and to Shlomo Melmed, MB ChB, MACP, FRCP, senior vice president, Academic Affairs, dean of the Medical Faculty and the Helene A. and Philip E. Hixon Distinguished Chair in Investigative Medicine.

“As a health system, we need to identify solutions that allow us to rigorously meet the needs of our patients both inside the hospital and outside our walls,” Melmed said. “The new team will bring a heightened level of scientific inquiry to one of our biggest challenges in healthcare.”

Spiegel said he expects the new research center to make a measurable difference in patient’s lives.

“There is so much hype about how modern technologies can improve health care, but few academic groups are rigorously studying how to make it happen,” he said. “We will create a center of innovation at Cedars-Sinai to study how we can use mobile applications and electronic health records to deliver the highest quality of care possible while reducing unnecessary expenditures.”

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