Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Institute for Public Health and Medicine

Northwestern to support 4,500 Illinois doctors through Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative award

Grant will establish a collaborative network and join federal government and other partners in supporting large-scale health care transformation among clinician practices

CHICAGO – Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine will take part in a collaborative network selected to participate in the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, announced in late September 2015 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Working with 4,500 doctors throughout Illinois, Northwestern will lead efforts to provide technical assistance support to equip clinicians with tools, information, and network support needed to improve quality of care; increase patients’ access to information; and pay for health care more efficiently.

Northwestern’s work is part of a collaborative based at Indiana University that will receive up to $46.4M to support 11,500 clinicians across Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

“Supporting doctors and other health care professionals change the way they work is critical to improving quality and spending our health care dollars more wisely,” said Sylvia M. Burwell, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. “These awards will give patients more of the information they need to make informed decisions about their care and give clinicians access to information and support to improve care coordination and quality outcomes.”

This work builds on five years of work assisting providers with the adoption and use of electronic health records through the Northwestern-based Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (CHITREC), now part of IPHAM's Center for Health Information Partnerships (CHIP). Among the institutions that have already committed to participate are Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Northwestern Medical Group, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, University of Chicago Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, UIC Medical Center, Stroger Hospital, Neighborhood Health Group, and Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services, which serves many of the city’s community health centers. CHITREC will also partner with the Illinois Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center based at Northern Illinois University to support doctors around the state.

“There has been a major increase in the use of health IT in the last few years, which has given us better information on our care processes and outcomes,” said Dr. Abel Kho, associate professor at Northwestern, co-executive director of CHITREC and director of CHIP. “The natural next step is to convert these insights into best practices that realize the highest quality of care at lower costs. We look forward to working together with stakeholders throughout our region to help us get there.”

The collaborative will be called the Great Lakes Practice Transformation Network and is one of is one of 29 health care national and regional networks and 10 supporting organizations funded as part of the initiative. The collaborative will help health healthcare organizations to expand quality improvement capacity; learn from one another; and achieve common goals of improved care, better health, and reduced cost. The network will provide implementation science, process improvement and personalized population health management to help participating clinicians meet the initiative’s phases of transformation and associated milestones, clinical and operational results.

These CMS awards are part of a comprehensive strategy advanced by the Affordable Care Act that enables new levels of coordination, continuity, and integration of care, while transitioning volume-driven systems to value-based, patient-centered, health care services. It builds upon successful models and programs such as the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Organization Program, Partnership for Patients with Hospital Engagement Networks, and Accountable Care Organizations.

For more information on the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, please visit:


Eva Winckler

Center for Health Information Partnerships

Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (CHITREC)