28 Oct How To Quickly Disseminate Best Practices To Doctors
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Luís A. Nunes Amaral PhD
HHMI Early Career Scientist
Professor of Chemical & Biological Eng.
Professor of Medicine
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Amaral: There is a well known difficulty in promoting the rapid adoption of best practices by physicians. Because of their work load and because of the inability to figure out when some result is a true advance or just hype, doctors tend to stick to what they believe works. Unfortunately, as a 15 year old Institute of Medicine study shows, this lack of adoption of best practices costs society hundreds of thousands of lives a year in the US alone.
The typical process for informing doctors of what best practices are (such as continual medical education and other broadcasting approaches) do not work well. We believe that a weakness of typical approaches is that they have a one talking to the many style, and they are out of a medical practice context. Our hypothesis was that by seeding a few doctors with desired knowledge, one could have spread of the adoption through one-on-one contacts between physicians in the context of treating patients. We found that this approach has the potential to be very effective.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Amaral: Doctors really are struggling with the flood of information coming at them, and that instead of placing the onus for handling that information on the physicians, we need to devise approaches to give physicians the right information in the right situation so that they are able to adopt the worthwhile innovations.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Amaral: This was a small study in a single unit of a teaching hospital. It is crucial to figure out if these finding hold in general. In particular, we need to see how the approach we followed, which is well suited to teaching hospitals would work with other types of health care facilities.
Adoption of a High-Impact Innovation in a Homogeneous Population
Phys. Rev. X 4, 041008 – Published 15 October 2014
Curtis H. Weiss, Julia Poncela-Casasnovas, Joshua I. Glaser, Adam R. Pah, Stephen D. Persell, David W. Baker, Richard G. Wunderink, and Luís A. Nunes Amaral