James D. Ralston, MD, MPH

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“My work focuses on helping patients who live with common chronic health conditions.”

James D. Ralston, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group, Internal Medicine

Biography

James Ralston MD, MPH, is an internal medicine physician and senior investigator in health services and health informatics. His research mission is improving the health and care of patients living with common ongoing illnesses. His current areas of emphasis include understanding and honoring the priorities of patients living with multiple chronic conditions.

Dr. Ralston’s research focuses on developing and evaluating communication technologies that foster continuous care and a closer connection between patients and primary care teams. His commitment to finding effective ways to redesign care spans all stages of research, from project development to complete translation of results into clinical practice.

Examples of Dr. Ralston’s research projects include:

  • The Valuing Important Things in Active Lives (VITAL) study to improve care for people with multiple chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. VITAL uses participatory design methods with patients and providers to design and evaluate interactive care plans.
  • The Seeing Priorities study to build and test a single, trusted tool for individuals with multiple chronic conditions that illuminates connections between personal values and chronic illness management. The tool helps visualize, track, and share what matters most for self-management and care. 
  • Understanding and addressing differences in patient use of online health care services that could lead to care disparities.
  • Testing online care management of blood sugar control using an electronic health record shared with patients with type 2 diabetes. Control improved in patients receiving online care management in addition to usual care.
  • Validating and evaluating a clinical tool to identify patients with type 2 diabetes at risk of severe low blood sugar. This national collaboration uses Kaiser Permanente and Veterans Administration electronic health record data and machine learning methods.
  • Testing innovative engagement methods such as photos taken by study participants to document their values to ensure that patient priorities guide self-management plans and clinical care.
  • Working with primary care teams and clinics in rural and underserved areas to improve the care of their patients with chronic conditions.

Dr. Ralston is also a University of Washington affiliate professor in health services and biomedical informatics, where he serves on the committees of PhD and master’s degree students.

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Research interests and experience

Recent publications

Herr TM, Bielinski SJ, Bottinger E, Brautbar A, Brilliant M, Chute CG, Cobb BL, Denny JC, Hakonarson H, Hartzler AL, Hripcsak G, Kannry J, Kohane IS, Kullo IJ, Lin S, Manzi S, Marsolo K, Overby CL, Pathak J, Peissig P, Pulley J, Ralston J, Rasmussen L, Roden DM, Tromp G, Uphoff T, Weng C, Wolf W, Williams MS, Starren J. Practical considerations in genomic decision support: the eMERGE experience. J Pathol Inform. 2015 Sep 28;6:50. doi: 10.4103/2153-3539.165999. eCollection 2015. PubMed

Lyles CR, Sarkar U, Schillinger D, Ralston JD, Allen JY, Nguyen R5 Karter AJ. Refilling medications through an online patient portal: consistent improvements in adherence across racial/ethnic groups. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2015 Sep 2. pii: ocv126. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv126. [Epub ahead of print].

Herr TM, Bielinski SJ, Bottinger E, Brautbar A, Brilliant M, Chute CG, Denny J, Freimuth RR, Hartzler A, Kannry J, Kohane IS, Kullo IJ, Lin S, Pathak J, Peissig P, Pulley J, Ralston J, Rasmussen L, Roden D, Tromp G, Williams MS, Starren J. A conceptual model for translating omic data into clinical action. J Pathol Inform. 2015 Aug 31;6:46. doi: 10.4103/2153-3539.163985. eCollection 2015.

Mosley JD, Shaffer CM, Van Driest SL, Weeke PE, Wells QS, Karnes JH, Velez Edwards DR, Wei WQ, Teixeira PL, Bastarache L, Crawford DC, Li R, Manolio TA, Bottinger EP, McCarty CA, Linneman JG, Brilliant MH, Pacheco JA, Thompson W, Chisholm RL, Jarvik GP, Crosslin DR, Carrell DS, Baldwin E, Ralston J, Larson EB, Grafton J, Scrol A, Jouni H, Kullo IJ, Tromp G, Borthwick KM, Kuivaniemi H, Carey DJ, Ritchie MD, Bradford Y, Verma SS, Chute CG, Veluchamy A, Siddiqui MK, Palmer CN, Doney A, MahmoudPour SH, Maitland-van der Zee AH, Morris AD, Denny JC, Roden DM. A genome-wide association study identifies variants in KCNIP4 associated with ACE inhibitor-induced cough. Pharmacogenomics J. 2015 Jul 14. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2015.51. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Crosslin DR, Robertson PD, Carrell DS, Gordon AS, Hanna DS, Burt A, Fullerton SM, Scrol A, Ralston J, Leppig K, Hartzler A, Baldwin E, Andrade Md, Kullo IJ, Tromp G, Doheny KF, Ritchie MD, Crane PK, Nickerson DA, Larson EB, Jarvik GP. Prospective participant selection and ranking to maximize actionable pharmacogenetic variants and discovery in the eMERGE Network. Genome Med. 2015 Jul 3;7(1):67. doi: 10.1186/s13073-015-0181-z. eCollection 2015. PubMed

Trinidad SB, Coffin TB, Fullerton SM, Ralston J, Jarvik GP, Larson EB. "Getting off the bus closer to your destination": patients' views about pharmacogenetic testing. Perm J. 2015 Jun 1. doi: 10.7812/TPP/15-046. [Epub ahead of print].

Eschler J, Kendall L, O'Leary K, Vizer LM, Lozano P, McClure JB, Pratt W, Ralston JD. Shared calendars for home health management. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (CSCW '15). 2015; ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1277-88. doi:10.1145/2675133.2675168.

Saberi P, Catz SL, Leyden WA, Stewart C, Ralston JD, Horberg MA, Grothaus L, Silverberg MJ. Antiretroviral therapy adherence and use of an electronic shared medical record among people living with HIV. AIDS Behav. 2015 Jan 9 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Kendall L, Eschler J, Lozano P, McClure JB, Vizer LM, Ralston JD, Pratt W. Engineering for reliability in at-home chronic disease management. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2014 Nov 14;2014:777-86. eCollection 2014.

Overby CL, Rasmussen LV, Hartzler A, Connolly JJ, Person JF, Hedberg RE, Freimuth RR, Shirts BH, Denny JC, Larson EB, Chute CG, Jarvik GP, Ralston JD, Shuldiner AR, Starren J, Kullo IJ, Tarczy-Hornoch P, Williams MS. A template for authoring and adapting genomic medicine content in the eMERGE infobutton project. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2014 Nov;17;2014:944-53. eCollection 2014.

 

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