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St. Luke's, Enriching the Idaho Research Environment

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
April 8, 2013

Editor’s note: The article that follows, by St. Luke’s Health System Chief Transformation Officer Tony Tomazic, originally appeared as a column titled “St. Luke's research gathering creates energy, momentum” in the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider last month. Tony is a board member for The CORE, which supports research, innovation, and economic development in the health, research and technology sectors in Idaho.

St. Luke's Health System supports a robust research environment in Idaho. Maximizing the impact of our research initiatives and fostering a research ecosystem in our organization and in our community directly support the St. Luke's vision.

We are taking proactive steps to engage in cutting-edge research that we believe will benefit all of the communities we serve. Dr. Mark Roberts, medical director for research, is focused on building a research infrastructure across St. Luke's Health System. We are working to corral our research efforts and fill the gaps, and we support making clinical research an overarching core competency in our region.

We are building a framework in which, through clinical trials and research projects, talented doctors, nurses, and clinicians can fully explore promising ideas for helping the people we serve. We are working to improve outcomes by increasing clinical integration, improving transitions of care, and improving the experience of care for our patients.

Dr. Roberts is creating the momentum to build this research environment, and on Feb. 1, he led the first St. Luke's Annual Research Symposium. This daylong symposium brought together leaders in research across industries – physicians, nurses, scientists, academics, and business leaders in and outside of health care – to share information and brainstorm about how to build on the compelling research being done, and raising the profile of research efforts here and throughout our region.

The symposium included topics on how research drives business and translational research, case presentations, and a question and answer session. Break-out sessions concentrated on:

  • Accountable care and research.                                                                                                                           
  • Electronic health records and outcomes research.                                                                                        
  • Business relationships and research.                                                                                                                 
  • Academics and translational research.
The CORE, which is working to create a vital MedTech economy in Idaho, sponsored poster exhibits following the breakout sessions. Researchers had the opportunity to display information on their studies and educate attendees in one-on-one collaborative sessions. Attendees were able to learn about some of the advanced research going on at St. Luke's and inquire about developments and discoveries.

The symposium promises to foster new research initiatives and deepen the research currently being conducted. Last year alone, St. Luke's had more than 200 active research studies looking at adult and pediatric cancer, heart disease, arthritis, stroke and diabetes. Groundbreaking work is being conducted in cystic fibrosis, osteochondritis dissecans – a joint disorder in which cartilage breaks down – other disorders affecting bones and joints, and nursing.

More than 8,000 people participated in St. Luke's research during 2012. We want to expand upon this and encourage those interested to participate in these exciting research developments.

The inaugural symposium was the beginning of a series of efforts to enrich the Idaho research environment. The gathering generated renewed energy to expand research, collaborate with community partners, and focus the attention on research in Idaho. Thanks to everyone for the outstanding jump-start.

About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.