ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Electronic Records / 30.05.2020 Interview with: Debra A. Patt, MD, PhD, MBA, FASCO Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Oncology - Clinical Cancer Informatics Medical oncologist at Texas Oncology, and US Oncology Research Breast Cancer Committee member What is the background for this study? Response: Cancer care is increasing in complexity with differentiation of cancer subtypes, new treatments, and treatment sequences and combinations.  Complying with evidence based therapy has become an increasing challenge.  We see that compliance with guideline based care across the country is highly variable. Our study evaluated an electronic health record based Clinical Decision Support System to facilitate compliance with evidence based guidelines--or pathways--to deliver care to adult patients with cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Electronic Records / 20.03.2020 Interview with: Rohit Bishnoi, M.D. Division of Hematology and Oncology Department of Medicine University of Florida Gainesville, FL What is the background for this study? Response: National Healthcare expenditure was $3.6 trillion in 2018 and 17.7% of Gross Domestic Product. Redundant laboratory testing is one part of this problem that is more pronounced in hospitalized patients as they are often seen by multiple physicians from the time of admission till discharge. This added burden on the US health care system leads to increased costs, decreased patient satisfaction, and unnecessary phlebotomy. It also leads to iatrogenic anemia over time and unnecessary transfusions. The Choosing Wisely initiative recommendation from the Society of Hospital Medicine, Society for the Advancement of Blood Management, and the Critical Care Societies Collaborative have recommended avoiding repetitive labs. As one of the physicians in the division of hospital medicine at the University of Florida (UF) Health Shands hospital, we encountered this problem frequently where a patient will get multiple HbA1c or lipid profiles or iron studies during the same hospital stay without any clear clinical indication. Most often these tests were ordered by different physicians seeing the same patient and not realizing that either the test has already been ordered or sometimes it is related to practice pattern of physicians. We often heard complaints about this from our nursing and laboratory staff and, most importantly by patients themselves. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Emergency Care, JAMA / 19.09.2019 Interview with: Carl Berdahl, MD, MS Emergency Physician and Health Services Researcher CEDARS-SINAI West Hollywood CA What is the background for this study? Response: The length of a doctor’s note is taken account when determining how much a doctor or medical center is paid for a visit. However, in the digital era, a doctor can generate large amounts of text with just a few keystrokes. Given this incentive structure, we were concerned doctors’ notes might be inaccurate in certain sections of the chart that are important for billing. We used observers to determine how accurately doctors’ notes reflected the interactions between patients and physicians. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Electronic Records, Infections / 21.05.2017 Interview with: Faheem Guirgis MD Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine Division of Research UF Health Jacksonville What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sepsis is quite prevalent among hospitals and the incidence is increasing. It is a life-threatening disease that can lead to poor outcomes if patients are not recognized and treated promptly. We recognized that our institution needed a strategic approach to the problem of sepsis, therefore the Sepsis Committee was created with the goal of creating a comprehensive sepsis program. We developed a system for sepsis recognition and rapid care delivery that would work in any area of the hospital. We found that we reduced overall mortality from sepsis, the number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit length and overall hospital length of stay, and the charges to the patient by approximately $7000 per patient. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Mental Health Research / 04.03.2017 Interview with: Steven K. Dobscha, M.D. Professor, Department of Psychiatry, OHSU Director, VAPORHCS Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care Oregon Health & Science University What is the background for this study?  Response: Several health care systems across the United States now offer patients online access to all of their clinical notes (sometimes referred to as progress notes) through electronic health record portals; this type of access has been referred to as OpenNotes (see for more information on the national OpenNotes initiative). Veterans have been able to use OpenNotes in the Veterans Health Care (VHA) system since 2013. However, some individuals have expressed concern that online access to clinical notes related to mental health could cause some patient harms. We are conducting a VA-funded research project with several objectives: 1) to examine benefits and unintended negative consequences of OpenNotes use as perceived by veterans receiving VHA mental health care and by VHA mental health clinicians, and 2) to develop and evaluate brief web-based courses designed to help veterans and clinicians use OpenNotes in ways that optimize Veteran-clinician collaboration and minimize unintended consequences. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Lipids, Science / 25.12.2016 Interview with: Michael F. Murray MD Geisinger Health System Danville, PA 17822 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The DiscovEHR cohort was formed as a result of a research collaboration between Geisinger Health System and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. There are over 50,000 patient participants in the cohort who have volunteered to have their de-identified genomic sequence data linked to their de-identified EHR data for research purposes. We report in this paper findings around the identification of 229 individuals (1:256) with pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in one of the three genes (LDLR, APOB, PCSK9) associated with Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH). The study found that these individuals are unlikely to carry a diagnosis of FH and are at risk for early coronary artery disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Electronic Records, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 08.12.2016 Interview with: Sophia Akhiyat M.D. Candidate, Class of 2017 The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences METEOR Fellowship What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study was inspired by one of Choudhry et al,1 in which patients' preferences for skin biopsy result disclosure was surveyed at melanoma clinics affiliated with several academic institutions. We sought to broaden participant inclusion criteria by evaluating patients' preferences at a general dermatology clinic at an academic center. Our findings support that the highest ranked patient-preferred method for receiving skin biopsy results was through an online portal. Patients also reported that the most important factors when selecting a modality for communication were the amount of information given and time available to discuss results. We also observed a relationship between a younger patient age range and online portal experience as well as a preference for biopsy notification via online portal. 1Choudhry A, Hong J, Chong K, et al. Patients' Preferences for Biopsy Result Notification in an Era of Electronic Messaging Methods. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(5):513-521. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Geriatrics, Pharmacology / 29.11.2016 Interview with: Jashvant Poeran MD PhD Assistant Professor Dept. of Population Health Science & Policy Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY What is the background for this study? Response: Falls are an important patient safety issue among elderly patients and may lead to extended hospitalization and patient harm. Particularly important in elderly patients are high risk drugs such as sleep medications which are known to increase fall risk and should be dosed lower in elderly patients. In this study we looked at patients aged 65 years or older who fell during hospitalization. We found that in 62%, patients had been given at least one high risk medication that was linked to fall risk, within 24 hours before their fall. Interestingly, we found that also a substantial proportion of these medications were given at doses higher than generally recommended for elderly patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, JAMA, Primary Care / 16.03.2016 Interview with: Daniel R. Murphy MD MBA Assistant Professor - Interim Director of GIM at Baylor Clinic Department of Medicine Health Svc Research & General Internal Medicine Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Murphy: Electronic health records (EHRs) have enabled a large number of messages to be transmitted to physicians each day, including new types of messages that were not present in the pre-EHR era. Lack of support and policies to assist physicians with this workload creates opportunities for important information, such as abnormal tests results, to be missed among the vast amount of other information. We found that primary care physicians (PCPs) at three clinics using commercial EHRs received an average of 77 messages per day, of which only about 20% were test results. Specialists received an average of 29 total messages per day. Extrapolating time needed to process these messages from prior work suggests that PCPs would require an average of 67 minutes per day to process these messages. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Electronic Records, Kaiser Permanente, Technology / 12.02.2016 Interview with: Shayna L. Henry, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Research & Evaluation Kaiser Permanente Southern California Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Henry: In this study, we analyzed the electronic health records of 838,638 Kaiser Permanente members in Southern California. We decided to conduct this study because Kaiser Permanente always strives to advance standards of excellence for care, and even with all the outreach resources available to health care providers and staff, gaps in preventive care still arise. It can be hard to get patients engaged in managing their preventive care, because there are so many tasks for them to keep track of – many of which don’t happen on a very regular basis. Online patient portals have been very useful at helping patients get more engaged in their care, but patients still have to make the first move, and put all the pieces together. Our tool, the Online Personal Action Plan (oPAP), puts our members’ health status and preventive and chronic care tasks in a single dashboard, and alerts them via email to their upcoming care needs, prompting them to log in, view their upcoming health care tasks such as annual vaccinations, tests and blood draws for chronic conditions, and routine cancer screenings, and make the necessary medical appointments to close those gaps in care. We wanted to better understand if having access to the oPAP tools was associated with a higher likelihood of taking care of those outstanding health care tasks in a timely manner. We found that members who used oPAP were more likely to get a mammogram, Pap smear, receive colorectal cancer screenings, and more likely to complete HbA1c testing for diabetes within 90 days of their coming due compared to members who were not registered on our patient portal.   (more…)
AHRQ, Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Outcomes & Safety / 11.02.2016 Interview with: Mr. Noel Eldridge Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Mr. Eldridge: We used existing data on adverse events from the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System, which AHRQ, CMS, and Qualidigm have been analyzing for years, and focused on the question as to whether rates of the adverse event measures were higher or lower in patients whose charts indicated that they had been treated with a full electronic health record (EHR) or a partial EHR during their inpatient stay. The main finding was that the adverse event rates were lower in the full EHR patients. We saw three different diagnosis groups of patients (cardiovascular, pneumonia, and major surgery), and looked at combined rates for all adverse event types, as well as for four combined subtypes separately: hospital-acquired infections, adverse drug events, post-procedural events, and falls and pressure ulcers combined. Not all of our findings were what people unfamiliar with our measures would have expected. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Cancer Research, Electronic Records, Journal Clinical Oncology / 25.08.2015

Hardeep Singh, MD MPH Chief, Health Policy, Quality and Informatics Program, Houston Veterans Affairs Health Services Research Center for Innovations Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine Houston TX 77030 Interview with: Hardeep Singh, MD MPH Chief, Health Policy, Quality and Informatics Program, Houston Veterans Affairs Health Services Research Center for Innovations Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine Houston TX 77030 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Singh: Missed or delayed diagnoses are among the most common patient safety concerns in outpatient settings, and measuring and reducing them is a high priority. Our computerized triggers scanned huge amounts of patient data in the electronic health record and flagged individuals at risk for delays in follow-up of cancer-related abnormal clinical findings.  Records of all patients flagged by the computerized trigger algorithm in the intervention group were reviewed to determine the presence of delay and if delay was confirmed, we communicated this information to their clinicians. We found that patients seeing clinicians who were notified of potential delays had more timely diagnostic evaluation for both prostate and colon cancer and more patients in the intervention part of the study had received diagnostic evaluation by the time we completed our final review. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records / 01.08.2014 Interview Celeste Campos-Castillo PhD Assistant Professor Department of Sociology University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Campos-Castillo: Approximately 13% of adults in the U.S. have held back information from doctors out of privacy or security concerns. When we compare adults with the same characteristics (e.g., age and education, overall health, and health care characteristics like having insurance and seeing a doctor in the past year) based on whether their doctor uses an electronic health record (EHR) system or not, we find that those with a doctor that uses an electronic health record were more likely to hold back information than those whose doctor does not use an electronic health record. Other studies have looked at whether electronic health records are related to withholding information out of privacy concerns, but the evidence was mixed: sometimes patients with EHRs were more likely to hold back information from doctors, other times there but sometimes there was no difference in withholding between patients of doctors who used EHRs and those who did not. What makes our study unique is that we consider a range of factors in the analysis that can disguise the real relationship between EHRs and withholding information because of privacy concerns. In particular, we take into account how patient ratings of quality of care play a complicated role in this situation. Patients with doctors who use EHRs often rate the quality of care they receive higher than those with doctors who are not using these systems. At the same time, higher quality ratings generally mean that patients feel comfortable sharing information with doctors, even the sensitive information that we tend to keep to ourselves. Because quality ratings are associated both with EHRs and with holding back information from doctors, it is necessary to consider this in the analysis. Otherwise – as we show in the study – we would mistakenly conclude that EHRs are unrelated to holding back information. Instead, we show that when we accurately compare patients with the same characteristics, including quality ratings, patients with EHRs are more likely to withhold information from their doctors out of concerns for privacy. (more…)