Photo: Nathan Mitchell, Courtesy of Health Affairs
Research Awards and Updates
Alex Mainor Presents at DC Event to Mark Five Years of Choosing Wisely Campaign
Dartmouth Institute research coordinator Alex Mainor recently presented at a Health Affairs-hosted event, “Choosing Wisely: Opportunities and Challenges in Curbing Medical Overuse.” Launched in 2012 by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation in partnership with Consumer Reports, Choosing Wisely is an initiative to advance a national dialogue on avoiding wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments, and procedures. At the 5-year-mark of the initiative, Health Affairs brought leaders of the effort, as well as practitioners and researchers, to Washington, D.C., to reflect on what’s been accomplished so far and to identify the challenges that remain.
Mainor’s presentation, “A Long and Winding Road: Knowledge of Choosing Wisely and Challenges of De-implementation,” detailed some of the findings of a paper he recently co-authored with Dartmouth Institute Associate Professor Carrie Colla. Published in the November issue of Health Affairs, the paper reported that based on annual ABIM-administered surveys, and despite continued publicity and outreach efforts, there was no significant change in physician awareness of the Choosing Wisely campaign between 2014-2017. Their suggestions for increasing adherence to Choosing Wisely recommendations include “increasing the involvement of patients, making a greater effort to promote shared decision making as a multi-faceted strategy, encouraging the explicit consideration of existing biases, and increasing systematic efforts to test medical interventions for value before they are introduced into clinical practice.”
Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin Receive McGovern Award for Their Work Improving Medical Communication
Dartmouth Institute Professors Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin were honored with the McGovern Award by the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) for their work improving the communication of medical evidence to physicians, journalists, policymakers, and the public. In naming Schwartz and Woloshin as the 2017 McGovern Award recipients, AMWA President Lori Alexander said, “These two physicians are my heroes because of their commitment to improving the quality of messaging directed at lay audiences. Their work clearly exemplifies the spirit of the McGovern Award, which recognizes a preeminent contribution to any of the various modes of medical communication.”
Schwartz and Woloshin’s body of research, as Alexander pointed out, focuses on five themes: medicine in the media, risk communication, information on prescription drugs, overdiagnosis, and documenting exaggeration. Their accomplishments in these areas include, organizing and leading a health journalism workshop “Medicine and the Media” with the National Institutes of Health, and collaborating with the National Cancer institute to create a new website, Know Your Chances. The Know Your Chances initiative represents the NCI’s first major effort to provide statistics on non-cancer causes of death to help put the risk of death from various cancers in perspective. Schwartz and Woloshin also collaborated with the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to develop better prescription drug information and are founding organizers of the international Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference.
Schwartz and Woloshin received the award at the AMWA Medical Writing & Communication Conference, held November 1-4 in Orlando, Florida.
Inas Khayal Receives RWJF Award to Develop Work on Community Typologies
Dartmouth Institute Assistant Professor Inas Khayal was awarded a $50,000 grant to develop a method of comparing communities from a system perspective through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Connections program. New Connections is a national program to introduce new scholars to RWJF, with a focus on early-career scholars from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented or disadvantaged in research disciplines.
Classic community comparisons use single-factor metrics. Communities, however, are multi-faceted social, economic, and physical interconnected systems. The goal of Khayal’s work, as she describes it, is to identify patterns of these multi-faceted community factors which then form community system typologies (or types of community systems). Community factors compiled mostly from public and some private data are analyzed using engineering and computer science techniques. Community stakeholders may use such typologies as a holistic measure of their community to better understand health outcomes; choose a successful community intervention from an area with a similar typology; collaborate with similar-proximity typology areas for community improvement and change; or to identify critical sector stakeholders to foster cross-sector collaboration.