Skip to main content


Regional Health to Participate in Research Initiative

Jun 04, 2019 10:19PM ● By Med Magazine
Regional Health has joined with major medical institutions in a new research initiative to improve the process of clinical trials and make it easier for researchers to find and engage with patients and clinicians.

The initiative, called the Baseline Consortium, includes Vanguard Health Systems, Duke University Health System, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mayo Clinic and the University of Pittsburgh. Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is the sponsor of the consortium.

“The clinical research system fails to provide the evidence that patients and clinicians need to make good health and health care decisions,” said Robert Califf, M.D., former FDA commissioner and advisor to Verily. “By developing useful tools and approaches, this robust collaboration has the potential to drive more efficient and effective research as we link patients, advocacy groups, clinicians, health systems and researchers.”

Interventional Cardiologist Drew Purdy, M.D., and Roger DeRaad, Director of Regional Health Research, will represent Regional Health on the consortium. DeRaad said Regional Health was invited in part because of its longstanding relationship with the consortium principals.

The consortium's job is to improve the process of testing new medicines, devices and procedures in clinical trials. In the past, the health care system has been the missing link, DeRaad said. And since the health care system has the most day-to-day contact with patients, it's an important link.

One of the challenges of clinical trials is identifying suitable participants. People track their own health through Fitbit and other monitors. Doctors track and maintain other health care information in electronic health records such as Epic. However, it’s difficult to access that data and screen for willing participants.

Verily seeks to find a way to more easily connect patients and patient data with ongoing research projects. Developers of drugs and devices will have better information to refine their products. Local physicians and their patients will have access to the latest cutting-edge treatment options.

In the past 25 years, Regional Health Research and its predecessor have completed more than 250 clinical trials. Currently 48 trials involving 525 patients are underway. Clinical trials have been conducted in cardiac, cancer, endocrinology, pediatric endocrinology, family medicine, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology, infectious diseases and general surgery.