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KANSAS CITY, MO. (June 14, 2018) This is the seventh year that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and BioNexus KC (formerly known as Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute) have partnered to award the Blue KC Health Outcomes Research Grants. This grant program solicits projects that significantly impact healthcare by improving the efficient delivery of quality healthcare to large numbers of patients. This year, three innovative local research projects were selected to each receive $50,000 to impact and improve patient care in the Kansas City Region.
"As part of the Kansas City community for 80 years, Blue KC has long looked for ways to give back to our community. Our partnership with BioNexus KC helps local researchers and physicians make advancements that change lives for the better," said Danette Wilson, Blue KC President and CEO. "We look forward to seeing the success of the 2018 recipients."
"Our collaboration with Blue KC provides the opportunity to positively impact patient outcomes in our community," said Dr. Keith Gary, BioNexus KC Vice President. "The Blue-KC Health Outcomes Research grant program directly supports our region's strengths in outcomes research identified in our 'Path to 2025' report."
Below are this year’s grant recipients and a brief description of their research projects.
Dr. David Robbins: mHealth Insulin Titration and Management
Complications from diabetes can arise from delaying the initiation of evidence-based interventions designed to manage the disease. Dr. David Robbins, University of Kansas Medical Center, is testing an application to improve the treatment of patients with diabetes through use of an innovative, FDA-cleared, smartphone-based insulin dosage application connected to Bluetooth enabled glucose meters. The app, iSage, allows providers to prescribe insulin treatment plans to patients and manages doses utilizing clinically proven algorithms. iSage is only attainable through a healthcare provider's "prescription."
"We believe broad use of such an application and connected devices will prove to be cost-effective, favor early and appropriate prescription of insulin, reduce provider effort, shorten time to achieve glycemic goals, and simplify the transition to basal insulin therapy," said Dr. David Robbins.
This grant will fund a pilot study that will be used to design and implement a wider, power-driven study that will cross disciplines into family practice, internal medicine, and outpatient facilities. It is part of a larger effort by the Diabetes Institute to reduce healthcare costs while improving diabetic care through innovative programs and technology.
Dr. Eyad Al-Hihi: Increasing Appropriate Management of Non-specific Low Back Pain
Low back pain is a common condition in the United States. Many patients who seek care for low back pain receive unnecessary imaging studies because symptoms resolve within two weeks for most individuals. Use of these imaging studies may result in unnecessary radiation exposure and add costs and wasted time for patients without improved benefits.
A project by Dr. Eyad Al-Hihi, University of Kansas Medical Center, targets this prevalent and costly problem of imaging overuse by providing patient education, best practice alerts, and clinical decision support tools. These tools will significantly enhance appropriate imaging utilization for acute low back pain without affecting quality of care, safety, or patient satisfaction.
"If effective, the proposed intervention would reduce inappropriate lower back pain imaging and increase appropriate management of nonspecific low back pain in clinical care," said Dr. Al-Hihi "Reducing or eliminating inappropriate imaging studies could reduce harm associated with unnecessary radiation exposure among members and result in significant cost savings."
If this project is successful, the potential for innovation is considerable because the proposed strategies to reduce imaging overuse can be replicated for use in other chronic health conditions to reduce unwarranted variation in medical practice and promote cost savings.
Dr. Bridgette Jones: The Impact of Individualized Home Environmental Intervention on Severe Asthma
Asthma affects approximately 1 in 10 of children and adults in the United States accounting for over 10 million dollars in healthcare costs. Dr. Bridgette Jones, Children's Mercy, is leading a study to evaluate the impact of combining multidisciplinary severe asthma management with environmental intervention on asthma outcomes in children with severe asthma. Although multidisciplinary asthma clinics have been shown to improve asthma outcomes for children, there are still some children who continue to have difficulty controlling their disease. Allergies are a significant contributor to severe asthma especially among children. Reducing home allergens such as mold, pet dander, pests, and dust mites may improve asthma symptoms in these children.
"Combined multidisciplinary care with interventions to address home environmental triggers may further improve asthma control and reduce asthma morbidity and risks for mortality in this vulnerable group of children," said Dr. Bridgette Jones.
Dr. Jones’ study will determine if simple home environmental assessment and education which target known allergens and irritants that cause asthma to flare up can be added to a multidisciplinary asthma care model and lead to increased asthma control in comparison to multidisciplinary asthma care alone in children with severe asthma.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Missouri and the only not-for-profit commercial health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to more than one million residents in the greater Kansas City area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and 30 counties in Northwest Missouri. Our mission: to use our role as the area’s leading health insurer to provide affordable access to health care and to improve the health and wellness of our members. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information on the company, visit its website at BlueKC.com.
About BioNexus KC
Through its Research Development Grants program, BioNexus KC manages a variety of individual grants for area corporations and trusts, helping them identify proposals with the best scientific, medical and technical merit. Research grants are awarded to generate initial results and stimulate the submission of major multidisciplinary research proposals to government or private agencies. BioNexus KC’s Research Development Grants program includes proposal review, evaluation by subject matter experts, written reviews for all applicants, and post-award management.