SC2i Cited as Model of PMI at White House

March 2016

During a recent White House meeting devoted to the progress of President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), Jonathan Woodson, MD, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, referred to the Surgical Critical Care Initiative (SC2i) as an example of the potential promise of the research effort. Funded by the DoD's Defense Health Program, the SC2i is an investigative collaboration between the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Naval Medical Research Center, Duke School of Medicine, Emory School of Medicine, Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, and DecisionQ. Timothy Buchman, PhD, MD, and Christopher Dente, MD, are the partnership's Emory-based investigators.

PMI's overarching theme is to enable a new era of medicine through research, technology, and policies that empowers patients, researchers, and providers to work together toward development of individualized care. In commemorating the one-year anniversary of the launch of the initiative and the development and innovation PMI is championing, Dr. Woodson described how the work SC2i is doing could provide solutions to health care issues that are of particular interest to the military.

"We're studying how we can use data unique to each patient to determine timing of debridement and closure for wounds on a case-by-case basis, minimizing wound-related complications," he said. "That can make a life-saving difference on the battlefield, as well as help to accelerate a service member's recovery and return to duty."

The efforts of the SC2i are also focused on benefiting acutely injured civilians. Since the establishment of the consortium in 2013, Duke and Emory have been working to translate advances in combat casualty care and surgical research resulting from military experiences with critically injured service members to civilian practice. One of the byproducts of recent armed conflicts has been the DoD's development of biomarker panels and decision-making algorithms that correspond to the different types of severe injuries experienced by combat-wounded patients. These types of standardized data streams could well offer dependable guides for physicians' crucial decision-making involving trauma patients in civilian sectors.  

"Our goal is to validate, enhance, and adapt these tools to treat critical injuries and illnesses in the civilian arena, and as we do so, transmit any valuable data and advances we make back to the DoD so they can further refine their battlefield procedures," says Dr. Buchman, founding director of the Emory Critical Care Center.

"By implementing real time models that will improve outcomes in surgical critical care, and doing so in a more time and cost efficient manner, this program has the potential to revolutionize the way critically injured patients are cared for," says Dr. Dente, interim chief of trauma of Grady Health System.

The development of such predictive analytics could not only improve outcomes and greatly reduce medical charges related to trauma care, but also be optimized across other disciplines that require complex decision-making, including emergency medicine, orthopaedics, oncology, and transplantation.

The SC2i's official website.

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