Guthrie Health and Geisinger collaborate on Marcellus shale research effort

DANVILLE, Pa. – Guthrie Health, a healthcare system serving northern Pennsylvania and southern New York, has joined with Geisinger Health System to study the health impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling, the first large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment of the health effects of natural gas production.

“As Geisinger and Guthrie both serve patient populations that live in areas affected by Marcellus shale gas drilling, it is appropriate that we join forces to investigate the effects of this industrial activity,” said David Carey, Ph.D., director of Geisinger’s Weis Center for Research. “We look forward to a productive and collaborative relationship.”

A team from Guthrie and Geisinger will lead the effort to utilize their electronic health records to investigate the health effects of Marcellus Shale gas drilling. The study will look at detailed health histories of hundreds of thousands of Geisinger and Guthrie patients who live near the Marcellus shale formation, a rock formation in which energy companies have already drilled about 5,000 natural gas wells.

Geisinger and Guthrie will collaborate in the planning and execution of the study, including the development of a health surveillance network intended to capture, assess and report on the patient level data secured by Geisinger and Guthrie, via electronic health record, and make this data available for research purposes.

 “This health surveillance network will be the first systematic longitudinal study to evaluate the effects of Marcellus Shale drilling within the community.  We anticipate additional institutional partners,” said Dr. Joseph Scopelliti, President and CEO of Guthrie. “Our aim is to create a cross-disciplinary and sharable repository of data on environmental exposures, health outcomes, and community impacts. The analysis of this data will further allow for the development of appropriate interventions.”

Some of the health effects that will be investigated first may include asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Preliminary results of data analysis may be released within the next year, Dr. Carey said, while other aspects of the research will unfold over five, 10 or 15 years.

About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development and implementation of innovative care models including ProvenHealth Navigator, an advanced medical home model, and ProvenCare program. The system serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit Geisinger. Follow the latest Geisinger news and more at Twitter and Facebook.

About Guthrie Health
Guthrie Health is a community-based, not-for-profit health care system jointly formed by Guthrie Healthcare System (GHS) and Guthrie Clinic, also not-for-profit health care organizations. GHS provides inpatient, outpatient and home-based services through Corning Hospital, Troy Community Hospital, Robert Packer Hospital, and Guthrie Home Care and Guthrie Hospice. Guthrie Clinic provides primary and specialty physician services at 25 regional clinics. Guthrie Health provides care for 200,000 patients annually within its eleven-county service area across the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York.