In 2006, the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences established the Translational Pharmacology Research Core (TPRC) program. The TPRC is a collaboration between the other research cores in the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and other units within the Academic Health Center and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The TPRC has the following primary components:

1) Core Laboratory Facility for Bioanalysis and Drug Development

2) Healthcare Informatics and Medication Management Research Network

3) Translational Pharmacogenomics Program

4) International Pharmacotherapy Education Initiative

5) Empire State Patient Safety Assurance Network - Patient Safety Organization

While each of the TPRC components have their own ongoing projects, they also have common areas of interest that overlap with each other as well as with other departments in the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences. The HIV Clinical Pharmacology Program within the TPRC has made significant progress and is fully implemented to conduct research with funding from the National Institutes of Health including NIAID, NIDA and the Fogarty International Center.

The TPRC has received four important designations:

 1. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH): In early 2008, the TPRC received official designation from the NYSDOH Patient Safety Center as the Coordinating Center for a statewide ePrescribing demonstration project. This designation, along with collaboration from the Upstate New York Translational Research Network, has facilitated the planning for the implementation of this project through the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences. This project is integrated with other healthcare informatics projects that are ongoing within the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and the Center for Computational Research.

 2. The TPRC's HIV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory is a NYSDOH-certified therapeutic drug monitoring laboratory and has received a 7-year, $9.3 million contract from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This funding, combined with another 7-year NIAID award for an AIDS Clinical Trials Group Pharmacology Specialty Laboratory, provides the foundation for new, developing HIV Clinical Pharmacology Research programs.

 3.  UB 2020 Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan: The Translational Pharmacology Research Core and the Medication Management Research Network were submitted to the UB 2020 strategic planning process as concept proposals in March 2008. Following a request for full proposal submission, the programs were approved by the Dean’s Coordinating Committee for implementation within the UB 2020 Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan Strategic Strength. The approval of these proposals facilitates the interface of UB faculty from numerous departments with the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and provides the multidisciplinary groups that will be engaged in future federal and foundation grant submissions.

 4. Agency for Health Research Quality (AHRQ) Designated Patient Safety Organization (PSO): The UB Patient Safety Organization is federally certified by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. PSOs serve as independent, external experts who can collect, analyze, and aggregate patient safety events locally, regionally, and nationally to develop insight into the underlying causes of patient safety events. The Empire State Patient Safety Assurance Network PSO at the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences has been approved as a PSO effective January 2010. Based on the analysis of reported events involving medication errors, the ESPSAN will generate personalized reports for each organization and provides information on the best, evidence-based practices that support effective improvements to reduce risk and harm in the delivery of health care. In addition, the de-identified data can also be shared with the National Network of PSOs, which aggregates patient safety events and analyzes trends nationwide.

The patient safety organization is currently collaborating with various ambulatory clinics and hospitals in Western New York focused on HIV, kidney disease, and diabetes through a Patient Safety Initiative grant. As a PSO, we are able to extend these collaborations into contractual agreements to collect non-identified patient safety event reports from the health care organizations and doctors. The Empire State Patient Safety Organization has established a web-based interface through which organizations can register with the PSO. This online interface will allow for organizations to log in and submit patient safety event reports involving medication errors using the AHRQ common formats. The web-based interface will also allow for organizations to view the PSO generated analysis reports for their specific organization and access suggested best practices.

Communications with PSOs are protected to allay fears of increased risk of liability because of collection and analysis of patient safety events. The contractual agreement between a PSO and a hospital, doctors, or healthcare organization allows for the PSO to provide legal protection for the patient safety events that are reported. These protections promote and encourage greater participation by providers. By establishing strong protections, providers may engage in more detailed discussions about the causes of adverse events without the fear of liability from information and analyses generated from those discussions.