(Philadelphia, PA) - The University of
Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) is launching a new “Center
for Evidence-Based Practice” in July 2006. Its purpose is
to provide, throughout the entire health system, recommendations
-- based on scientific methodology -- on clinical practices and
policies. The center will evaluate drugs, as well as non-drug technologies
like medical devices and equipment, and processes of care by examining
research findings and drawing on the expertise of clinicians and
“We wanted to create a forum to develop clinical practices
and policies that would span the whole health system. The ultimate
goal with this new center is to significantly improve patient safety
and clinical outcomes and to reduce occurrences,” states P.J.
Brennan, MD, Chief Medical Officer at UPHS, who will ultimately
oversee the new center. “We want to take a proactive approach
to evaluate new drugs on the market and the processes we use --
to have the evidence to support its use. We will methodically examine
the data using scientific standards of analysis, and allow a rigorous
review, to bring us to a logical conclusion.”
Once a specific medical issue is identified, the center will form
a task force consisting of clinician experts from within UPHS to
work alongside the center to examine the issue. The review process
may last up to a few months for each issue, with multiple reviews
occurring simultaneously. The process of review will start with
a comprehensive search and evaluation of the world’s medical
literature on the issue at hand. Then, the task force will obtain
further input from thought leaders, institutional experts, and industry
When all of the evidence is analyzed, the task force will develop
a set of recommended guidelines, which will be disseminated to each
hospital’s chief medical officer for further review and application.
This effort includes all of UPHS: the Hospital of the University
of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and Pennsylvania
Hospital, all in Philadelphia.
Brennan adds, “The recommendations these task forces make
will stem from a language and process that the medical community
at Penn knows and respects. The intention here is to create a center
that gathers, examines, and analyzes evidence and then brings clinical
experts and industry into the process for their input. It’s
a way to honestly analyze what we’re using and doing here
at Penn. I know of no other center like this in existence at an
academic medical center. We will directly apply evidence to clinical
Kendal Williams, MD, MPH, and Craig Umscheid,
MD, both Assistant Professors in the Department of Medicine
with formal training in public health and epidemiology respectively,
will serve as the center’s co-directors.
“Our main mission is to apply the best research findings
from around the globe to our patient population. Penn has the ability
to do this well,” comments Williams. "With this new center,
we’re also tackling the important issue of clinician-industry
relations and quality of care. Often many ‘special interests’
involved in patient care are in-line with our goals as health care
professionals, but not always. It is the responsibility of a health
system to promote the health and protect the safety of its patients.
The health system leadership is showing, through this new center,
that they take this duty very seriously."
In fact, Williams views the new center as a positive way to create
a proactive, collaborative, patient-centered relationship between
the health system and the pharmaceutical and medical device industry,
based on science.
“This will encourage more scientific dialogue with industry
rather than marketing dialogue,” adds Umscheid. “We
want to be a resource to help our physicians to make decisions and
practice medicine based on findings from valid clinical studies.
The topic of our first review is the use of Aprotinin, a drug used
by anesthesiologists during cardiac surgery to reduce blood loss.
Recently, its safety has come into question. We assembled a group
of clinical experts from within Penn to help us conduct a clinically
relevant, systematic review of the pertinent studies on the topic
and we hope to recommend guidelines for its use within the next
Also, the new center is in the process of developing a website
to post its recommended guidelines so that they can serve as a resource
beyond Penn, to the public and to other health care professionals
who may be dealing with the same issues in similar patient populations.
PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise
dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical
research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists
of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in
1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of
Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt
of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S.News &
World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical
schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the
School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education
and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and
leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three
hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care
honors [Hospital of theUniversity of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania
Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical
Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network;
two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.