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UMass Medical School joins Autism Learning Health Network


The UMass Medical School Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center’s Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CANDO) clinic, in partnership with the Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, has joined the Autism Learning Health Network of Autism Speaks. The network convenes academic leaders in autism and other neurodevelopmental and intellectual disabilities nationwide to standardize and share clinical data collection and outcomes research to improve care for children and families affected by autism spectrum disorder.

“We are delighted to partner with our behavioral pediatrics colleagues to join with 20 other academic clinics that are collecting data as part of routine clinical care, linking it across sites, analyzing it on a regular basis and sharing findings on outcomes and best practices,” said Jean A. Frazier, MD, the Robert M. and Shirley S. Siff Chair in Autism, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, and executive director of the Shriver Center. “We want to constantly use this feedback to improve the quality of care that we deliver. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”
A learning health system, defined by the Institute of Medicine as “a system in which science, informatics, incentives and culture are aligned for continuous improvement and innovation,” brings together patients, families, doctors and researchers to improve health care; in this case, for people with autism spectrum disorder. Rather than waiting for individual clinicians to hear of new treatments and gradually incorporate them into their everyday practice, a learning health network constantly monitors its activities, determines what does and doesn’t work, and accelerates the adoption of new treatments.

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