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UNC leverages clinical data to improve bariatric patient care

The UNC Health Care System (UNCHCS) is part of an effort to determine the best ways to perform surgery for obesity. Working with a national collaboration, we are examining weight loss outcomes of bariatric surgery as part of a consortium that can efficiently and securely examine tens of thousands of patient records. Sponsored by the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI), the effort will provide needed information to patients and their physicians regarding the best type of surgery for a given individual.

Jessica Craddock, a patient who knows firsthand what it is like to have this kind of surgery, shares that "Bariatric surgery has the promise of not only changing people's lives but saving them as well. In under a year and a half I have lost nearly 300 lbs., and am cured of uncontrollable diabetes and hypertension. My arthritis and psoriasis are all but gone and my quality of life is what it should be for a 26 year old female."

Meredith C. Duke, MD, MBA
Meredith C. Duke, MD, MBA

The work being done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is led by bariatric surgeon Dr. Meredith Duke. Dr. Duke states that "access to the large volume of clinical data will allow us to answer questions for physicians and patients about which bariatric procedures are best suited for them, and why."

Jessica emphasizes that she feels grateful for her experiences with this research, not just because of her positive health outcomes, but also because she could be of help to others. "I am grateful that the information in my medical records and that of so many like me can be used to help figure out which procedures are best for different sectors of the population. I have my whole life to look forward to now and I hope many others will get this same opportunity."

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is part of a national organization called PCORnet that is markedly reducing the cost of conducting this type of practical research by leveraging existing clinical data to support both research and quality improvement initiatives. Carolina's involvement in PCORnet is managed by the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute, the hub for the NIH's Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

For more information about the bariatric surgery study, visit

For more information about UNC Health Care's involvement in PCORnet, visit

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Michelle Maclay, Communications Director