The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute has entered a research partnership agreement with Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), in a bid to work jointly to carry out a broad portfolio of research studies.

HCA is a network of hospitals, including 166 hospitals and 113 surgery centres in 20 states of the US and the UK.

As part of the deal, both organisations will work together to expand the study of healthcare associated infections and medical product safety surveillance.

HCA chief medical officer Dr Jonathan Perlin said: "Our unprecedented partnership has already yielded information that not only makes preventing MRSA and other serious infections simpler and more effective, it helped set a new standard for responsible infection prevention.

"As part of the deal, both organisations will work together to expand the study of healthcare associated infections and medical product safety surveillance."

"Future research projects will advance the learning healthcare system by making evidence development an expected part of care delivery."

Under the deal, the companies will also carry out research activities in new areas, including maternal-child care and pharmacy.

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Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Harvard Medical School Department of Population Medicine chair Dr Richard Platt said: "HCA’s extensive hospital network and the quality of its electronic health records can significantly improve our shared ability to answer important research questions."

HCA participated in the institute’s randomised trial to assess methods for preventing infections in ICU patients. It was published in New England Journal of Medicine in May 2013.

In addition, HCA recently joined as a research partner in the FDA Sentinel System, a programme using electronic healthcare data to monitor the safety of FDA-regulated drugs and other medical products.

Led by the Harvard Pilgrim Institute, the programme includes more than 50 healthcare and academic organisations.