Institute for Quantitative Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) was awarded $2.5 million by the Knowledge Fund in 2013 to create the Institute for Quantitative Health Sciences (IQHS). IQHS will increase UNLV’s research capacity in data analytics, bioinformatics, and biostatistics. It will also provide a centralized expertise cluster at UNLV that will facilitate health and medical issues collaboration with many community partners.

The mission of IQHS is to support the health and medical economy of southern Nevada by improving health outcomes and providing quantitative analysis that enhances medical decision-making and education programs. The goals of IQHS are grouped into four areas:

  • develop innovative design and simulation of clinical trials, including adaptive design of clinical trials with the expertise of biostatisticians and biomathematicians, among others;
  • integrate information from genomics and bioinformatics (personalized medicine) into tailoring drug treatments;
  • develop data analysis capabilities for use with Health Information Technology to improve health services and health outcomes; and
  • develop education programs that support a workforce in quantitative health sciences.

Clinical Trials Design and Simulation

More efficient statistical testing and simulation procedures have been proposed to improve the success rates of clinical studies. Whether it be the design of a new study or analysis of pre-existing data, biostatisticians and epidemiologists are critical for the development of new capabilities in clinical trials, research and analysis. The IQHS will develop these specialized research services and computer simulation tools, some of which will be patentable as essential tools in modern drug development.

Bioinformatics and Personalized Genomics

An emerging scientific area that will impact medicine in the next few decades is genomics and bioinformatics. In the next one to two years, the cost to sequence an entire human genome will drop significantly and it will become an economically feasible diagnostic service for any patient. Collectively, this new field is called “personalized medicine.” The new personalized medicine capacity at UNLV can train Nevada’s workforce with the necessary skills to support start-ups, attract established businesses to Nevada, and benefit our state’s existing businesses. The intellectual property developed from personalized genomics has realistic potential to generate significant income from patents and licensing.

Health Information Technology

The role of data and information in the healthcare sector has increasingly been highlighted as a way to improve health services and outcomes. This was emphasized by the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, which has led to a myriad of changes that will affect the healthcare delivery system. Prior to the enactment of the ACA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced a reimbursement mechanism intended to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce medical errors. Additionally, the implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHR) is intended to improve healthcare quality and provide incentives for meeting meaningful use guidelines.  The formation of the IQHS is an opportunity to provide technical services in the health information area as these important transitions takes place.

IQHS’s Application & Progress Reports

 

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