WHISCON
World Health Information Science Consultants, LLC
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WHISCON Overview

WHISCON – World Health Information Science Consultants, LLC – conducts research and teaching in epidemiology and drug safety.   The firm has a core staff, a group of academic consultants who direct studies, and close collaborative ties with firms that provide health insurance data, hospital information, clinical trials and the ad hoc collection of observational data for registries and surveys.

The firm was founded in 2007 by Alexander Walker and Deborah Hennessey, who each had reached senior levels of research and research administration before opening WHISCON.   Dr. Walker is former Chair of the Department of Epidemiology of the Harvard School of Public Health and former Senior Vice President for Epidemiology at Ingenix, Inc., a subsidiary of United Health Group.  Ms. Hennessey was Vice President for Operations in the Ingenix epidemiology group.   Together at Ingenix, they managed a staff of 40 persons and many scores of studies in general epidemiology and drug safety.

Administrative Databases and Electronic Health Records

Currently active database studies include research on
•    Complications of inpatient treatment with antifungal agents, conducted with Premier, Inc., an alliance owned by member not-for-profit hospitals and healthcare organizations, which holds summary and charge records and for approximately one-sixth of the hospitalizations that occur annually in the United States.
•    Cardiovascular events in statin users, conducted with IMS Health, using commercial insurance claims data from the IMS subsidiary, PharMetrics.
•    Health care utilization in different classes of convulsive disorders, using employer insurance claims available through Thomson Reuters.

Staff has experience additionally in work with the General Practice Research Database (UK), Saskatchewan Health (Canada), MediPlus (Germany), Italian Social Security and Ingenix files.

Dr. Walker and Sebastian Schneeweiss, MD, DSc, one of WHISCON’s core consultants, have served on Brookings Institution committees to advise on the development of the Sentinel Initiative, the FDA’s mandated 100-million-person drug safety surveillance system.  Both have also served on Institute of Medicine subcommittees on comparative cost-effectiveness research.

Registries and Large Simple Trials


In January 2009, WHISCON and PPD announced a strategic alliance for drug safety research.  PPD is one of the largest contract research organizations in North America and brings to the collaboration the capacity to implement registries and large simple trials.  WHISCON brings expertise in problem conceptualization, design, interpretation and presentation of the safety findings.   The WHISCON-PPD connection permits work in which the sponsor is looking a full-fledged scientific enterprise to design, conduct, interpret and defend drug safety research that involves direct contact with patients and providers.

Publications


Scientific investigation is complete only when the results are open to the scrutiny of the research community.   WHISCON’s own scientific publications and the hundreds of prior publications of its principals and consults attest to the firm’s standing and rigor.

Education

WHISCON offers on-site short courses in pharmacoepidemiology and related research methods.  We work directly with clients to design and implement courses that respond to staff needs.

Clients 2008-2009

Astellas, Eisai, IMS Health, Harvard Medical School, Merck, Novartis, OMOP, Ortho-McNeil Janssen, Pfizer, US Department of Justice
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