September 30, 2019

BOSTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has
awarded a contract that may reach $220 million over the next five years to the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute to continue to lead the Sentinel Operations Center and to develop a new Sentinel Innovation Center.  This contract builds on the Institute’s 10 years of experience developing and operating the Sentinel System, a national program that uses electronic health care data to monitor the safety of FDA-regulated drugs and other medical products. 
The addition of the Sentinel Innovation Center, which will be led by Sebastian Schneeweiss, MD, ScD of Brigham and Women’s Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, and co-led by investigators from the Duke Clinical Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute together with the University of Washington School of Public Health, and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Biomedical Informatics, signals FDA’s commitment to keeping the Sentinel System a robust and cutting-edge national resource.   The Institute will partner with over 60 technology, health care and academic organizations across the nation on this important undertaking.

The Institute has led the Sentinel System since its inception in 2009, creating
a national electronic system for monitoring the performance of FDA-regulated medical products.  Using this national data network, FDA regularly conducts safety analyses of the billions of hospital stays, outpatient visits, and pharmaceutical dispensings.

“We are very pleased to continue leading the Sentinel System along with our collaborating partners.  The program now regularly informs FDA’s guidance to physicians and the public about the safety and safe use of medical products”, said Richard Platt, MD, MSc, Professor and Chair of the Department of Population Medicine at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School and Principal Investigator of the FDA Sentinel System.  Such post-marketing studies typically require years to design and complete, each at a cost of millions of dollars. “We look forward to continuing these efforts and enabling Sentinel to grow in scope and scale over the next five years” adds Dr. Platt. 

Plans for the next phase of the Sentinel project include enhancements to increase efficiency and responsiveness, to develop new data sources and more sophisticated methods, to broaden the community of users, and to enhance the Center’s extensive expertise by bringing on additional specialized collaborators.


About Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute's Department of Population Medicine

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute's Department of Population Medicine is a unique collaboration between Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Harvard Medical School.  Created in 1992, it is the first appointing medical school department in the United States based in a health plan.  The Institute focuses on improving health care delivery and population health through innovative research and teaching.

Press Contact: