Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (formerly GHRI) Data Description

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (formerly GHRI) Data Description

NIH Collaboratory Distributed Research Network

Years of data available 2004-2013
Total enrollees in research database: All years ​3,545,000
​Total enrollees in research database: Most recent year​ 715,000
​Age distribution (%): Most recent year
​0-18 years 23
​19-44 years 30
​45-64 years 32
65+ 15
​Data models available Mini-Sentinel Common Data Model (CDM)

Virtual Data Warehouse (VDW) CDM​

Informatics for Integrating Biology & the Bedside (i2b2) CDM

​Health plan/health system description Research center:
Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) is a non-proprietary, public-domain research institution established in 1983 within Group Health, a health care system based in Seattle, Washington.The Institute’s mission is to improve health and health care for everyone through leading-edge research, innovation, and dissemination.To serve its mission, GHRI conducts and disseminates research and evaluation on:

  • The organization, delivery, quality, and cost of health care.
  • Prevention, treatment, and management of illness.
  • Strategies at the individual, provider, system, community, and policy levels that result in better health outcomes.

GHRI conducts research relevant to the prevention and effective treatment of major health problems, with an emphasis on health behavior change; evaluating the efficacy and cost effectiveness of health care services and technologies; carrying out population-based surveillance of health status within and beyond the Group Health enrolled population; and evaluating Group Health’s programmatic decisions. Learn more at grouphealthresearch.org

Affiliated health care and insurance provider:
Group Health Cooperative is a large, mixed-model, nonprofit health care system that coordinates care and coverage. Group Health is one of the few consumer-governed health care cooperatives in the nation.

Group Health provides primary, specialty, hospital, home health, and inpatient skilled nursing care on a pre-paid (capitation) basis. Mental health and substance abuse services are part of the enrollee benefit package. Enrollees choose their primary care medical center and their personal physician within that medical center. More than 70% of members receive comprehensive care in Group Health–owned facilities. Group Health has 26 primary care medical centers and one hospital. Learn more at ghc.org.

​Collaboration requirements and additional information Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) oversees all research conducted at Group Health, including reviewing, approving, and monitoring research by outside scientists.

If you’re interested in conducting research at Group Health, we recommend collaborating with a GHRI faculty member. This helps ensure that proposed projects are consistent with Group Health policies and that potential stumbling blocks, such as effects on the delivery system, are addressed. Projects require funding if any Group Health programming or staff time is needed.

You may contact our faculty members directly to establish a partnership based on common areas of interest. If you can’t find a GHRI faculty member to partner with, you may ask the GHRI Feasibility Review Committee to evaluate your proposal. The Committee helps GHRI leadership determine if an external project is a good fit for Group Health and will also try to help you find a GHRI faculty collaborator. Most projects initiated by non-Group Health scientists require the involvement of a GHRI faculty member.

Proposing research at Group Health in collaboration with an identified GHRI faculty member:

  • The GHRI faculty member who agrees to collaborate with you, is responsible for guiding you and your application through grants development and research review processes at Group Health.
  • You do not need to submit your project to the Feasibility Review Committee

Proposing research at Group Health without a GHRI faculty member who has agreed to collaborate:

  • All proposed research projects that do not include a GHRI investigator are first reviewed by the Feasibility Review Committee. This includes research proposed by GHRI affiliate faculty members, Group Health staff or Group Health Physicians (GHP) staff, and researchers affiliated with other institutions.
  • If you aren’t able to find a GHRI investigator to work with, please contact the Chair of the Feasibility Review Committee at least 6–8 weeks before your grant is due to the funding agency—especially if patient recruitment and review of medical records are involved. As part of the feasibility review process, we will try to help you identify an investigator to collaborate with you.
  • If we are not able to find a GHRI collaborator, you may not be able to conduct your study at Group Health. In particular, studies that impact the care delivery system or propose to collect large amounts of Group Health data (or certain types of sensitive data) require a GHRI faculty member as a collaborator.
  • Studies that collect Group Health data as their primary source of data must have their publications reviewed by Group Health prior to publication. This is to avoid inadvertent harm to Group Health and study participants.
​Research capabilities GHRI supports its research programs with a solid infrastructure of highly skilled teams and resources, including:

  • Information technology (IT): Each encounter between a Group Health member and the care-delivery system creates data. These data are organized into SAS data sets for research purposes. The GHRI IT Unit manages and analyzes these data. GHRI programmers are also working with other health care organizations to safely and effectively share data for powerful multi-site studies. Read about GHRI's technology group—how it provides programming and analysis, designs tracking databases, and maintains automated chart review systems, data warehouses, Web sites, and more.
  • Survey Research Program: GHRI's Survey Research Program specializes in custom research consultation, design, and data collection. Learn about the program's expertise in recruitment and surveys via phone, mail, Web; conducting focus groups, qualitative interviews; and more.
  • Research clinic: GHRI's recently expanded, state-of-the-art research clinic in Downtown Seattle features staff and equipment capable of supporting a broad range of clinical trials. See detailed information about its amenities, staff, and studies.
  • Medical records: GHRI has access to decades of high-quality, computerized data from the Group Health care-delivery system. Learn how the Institute's medical records program can provide information on this large, stable population's health care experience.
  • In addition to the capabilities above, GHRI provides the following tools to the research community:

Readability toolkit

  • This toolkit helps researchers develop easy-to-read participant materials, such as recruitment letters and consent forms. Based on principles of plain language, the toolkit illustrates a participant-centered approach to research materials: using clear, meaningful language while avoiding unnecessary information and complex words.


NIH Collaboratory Distributed Research Network (DRN): Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (formerly GHRI) Data Description. In: Rethinking Clinical Trials: A Living Textbook of Pragmatic Clinical Trials. Bethesda, MD: NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory. Available at: https://rethinkingclinicaltrials.org/nih-collaboratory-drn/kpwhri/. Updated July 9, 2018.