The Brain Safety Lab (BSL), or Brain Health Patient Safety Learning Laboratory, is an ongoing project to improve brain health in older adults. The BSL is supported by a four-year $4 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to the Indiana University Center for Aging Research (IUCAR) (Chris Callahan, PI). The Lab represents a collaboration between IUCAR; Eskenazi Health; IU schools of Medicine and Nursing; the Purdue University schools of Biomedical and Industrial Engineering; Purdue College of Pharmacy and the Regenstrief Institute.
The broad goal of the BSL is to prevent harm to brain health among older adults through two projects: 1) reducing the use of unsafe medications with anticholinergic side effects; and 2) preventing repeated episodes of hypoglycemia among older adults with diabetes. BSL employs an iterative, user-centered process for problem assessment, solution design, and evaluation.
We are proposing to establish the Brain Health Patient Safety Learning Laboratory (Brain Safety Lab) at the Indiana University School of Medicine in collaboration with the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, The Indiana University School of Nursing, The Purdue University Schools of Biomedical and Industrial Engineering, the Purdue College of Pharmacy, the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., and a safety net health care system, Eskenazi Health. The Brain Safety Lab will allow this new professional network to brainstorm about solutions to brain safety and to rapidly deploy and test novel ideas in real-world clinical settings serving vulnerable elders. Vulnerable elders, includin low-income and minority elders and those who suffer from multimorbility, are AHQ priority populations The specific aim of this proposal is to establish a patient safety learning laboratory focused on preventing harms to brain health among an AHRQ priority population at high risk for avoidable harm. Brain health is one of the highest priorities for successful aging. Brain health includes both cognitive and emotional health as well as positive sense of well-being. Within the context of brain health, we will focus initially on patient safety harms related to the use of medications among older adults. Use of medications that have the potential to harm brain health is widely accepted as a patient safety problem that has been resistant to early intervention efforts. The institute of Medicine recently issued a report on cognitive aging that included a call for joint an collaborative actions among policy-makers, health care professionals, patients, and families to review patient medications, paying attention to medications known to have an impact on cognition. We focus on older adults because they are the largest reservoir of medication use, over-use, and misuse and are particularly vulnerable to brain safety concerns.