Center for Health Organization Transformation receives federal funding

May 5, 2014

Anestesiologist FeatureThe U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has renewed funding for the Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT) for an additional five years. The total funding is estimated to bring in over $1.5 million to the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, with $297,300 of that being guaranteed by the NSF and the remainder being generated by the center’s industry fees. Based at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, CHOT emphasizes bringing together health management researchers with those from industrial and systems engineering, information systems, and related fields.

Established in 2008 by the Texas A&M School of Public Health and the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, additional participating universities include Penn State University and Northeastern University.

The center’s total research budget is funded by the NSF and 16 industry members, including health systems such as Texas Children’s Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center System, Partners HealthCare and well-known industry solution providers such as Verizon and Siemens. The industry members collaborate with CHOT universities in guiding and conducting the center’s research.

“The initial work on several transformation projects with our health system partners has demonstrated that CHOT’s research approaches are well aligned with the objectives of the leaders of the health systems,” said Regents Professor Larry Gamm, Ph.D., former CHOT director. “The research being done by CHOT supports improved efficiency, quality, and work culture in health systems.”

One of the most unique aspects of the CHOT model is that the research projects are industry-driven. What would typically be done as two-party contract work between industries and consultants or individual researchers, is instead carried out using a cooperative model that presents results from across multiple systems and data sets, rather than one isolated area of study.

Through their cooperative research model, CHOT members from across all spectrums of the health care industry work with university faculty and doctoral students to conduct research on the latest innovations in data management, clinical practices, and other strategies for improving health.


Dr. Bita Kash, CHOT Director

Many of CHOT’s current projects are being derived from health care organizations’ responses to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Projects that have addressed the creation of medical homes and integration of physicians with hospitals are driven, at least in part, by government health reform and changing demands from health insurers.

Still other projects are addressing emergency department usage and workflow, development of perioperative surgical centers, and the consequences of sleep disruption among infants in neo-natal intensive care units. One of the center’s newest projects involves working with the American Society for Anesthesiologists (ASA) to define best practices in perioperative surgical care. The project will eventually set the standards of care for organizations seeking to obtain Perioperative Surgical Home status.

“What we are doing is trying to determine specific tasks and activities that need to be done before, during, and after any surgery to minimize errors, reduce patient complications, and maximize throughput,” said Bita Kash, Ph.D., M.B.A., newly appointed CHOT director and principal investigator for the ASA project. “We are at the forefront, through the ASA, trying to identify surgical care best practices that need to be better understood and put into practice across the country to increase safety and efficiency in surgical settings,” she added.

“The faculty and students from these great universities look forward to developing even stronger working relationships with visionary health systems who share a commitment to transformation in health care,” said Dr. Gamm. “I am especially pleased, in light of my upcoming retirement, that Dr. Bita Kash has agreed to take on the position of CHOT director. Her leadership ensures that the center will continue to add value for all participants and will take health services research and education to the next level.”

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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