Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Health Services Researchers Present at National Conference

Guest Blogger:
Angela D. Thomas, DrPH, MPH, MBA
Executive Director, MedStar Health Services Research Network
MedStar Health Research Institute

Recently, AcademyHealth held its Annual Research Meeting, known as “ARM”, in Seattle, Washington.  The theme of this year’s ARM was “Today’s Research Driving Tomorrow’s Outcomes”, where health services researchers nationally and internationally came together to hear abstract presentations on current research, learn about career development opportunities, discuss critical and emerging issues in  health services research (HSR), learn new HSR methods, discuss policy, discover new research resources, and much more. 

AcademyHealth’s ARM recognizes the depth and breadth of the health services research field, as it offered 21 different themes applied to each of its 153 sessions available and nearly 600 posters. Some of these themes included:
  • Digital Technologies and Health Equity
  • High Cost, High Need
  • Improving & Measuring Safety, Quality, and Value
  • Patient-Centered Research
  • Payment and Delivery Systems Innovations
  • Public and Population Health
This year, I had the pleasure of presenting under the “Improving Safety, Quality, and Value” them in a session entitled “Safer Care: Progress toward the Goal”. I presented on “Race Differences in Adverse Patient Safety Events in Organizations Applying High Reliability Principles”.  Dr. Jessica Galarraga,  health services researcher and physician investigator, presented under the “Payment and Delivery Systems Innovations” theme, in a session entitled “Global Budget and Global Payment Models”, where she presented her work on “The Effects of Global Budgeting on Emergency Department Admission Rates”.  Tracy Kim,  research assistant with MedStar’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, also represented MedStar well with a poster “Looking at the Bigger Picture: Analysis of Patient Safety Event Reports in Mental Health Units”.
Next year, AcademyHealth’s ARM will take place in Washington, DC June 2-4th.  Mark your calendars now and plan not only to attend but to present your research!  ARM’s breadth of themes offers MedStar a platform for presenting research from many different areas in our organization.  By attending ARM, not only will you reap the career and personal development rewards of attending, but you will also help to increase the national presence of MedStar Health.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Going from MHRI to Residency

Guest Blogger:
Becky Montalvo

Executive Director, MedStar Community Clinical Research Center (MCCRC)

At MHRI, what professional development means to our associates varies. Some associates want to gain certificates, attend conferences, or find other ways to expand their professional horizons to advance in their careers. I’m happy to share briefly about 4 associates from MedStar Community Clinical Research Center (MCCRC) who have advanced their medical careers with securing medical residencies, and at their top choice, which is MedStar Health.

This year, Saif Almushhadani and Nawar Suleman said their farewell to MHRI for the most wonderful reason – they were accepted as medical residents to MedStar Health’s program in Baltimore. Saif and Nawar are following two prior MCCRC associates, Sayf Yassin, and Zayd Nashaat who also matched to a medical residency at MedStar Health three years and two years ago, respectively. Zayd is now starting his final year as Chief Resident. We are so proud of and happy for these four MCCRC associates, who committed their time and effort to MHRI along their way towards their dream of residency.

Nawar Suleman with Amy Loveland.
Amy was each of their supervisors in MCCRC.
Many don’t realize how challenging it is to land residency many years out from medical school, yet their tenacity and perseverance has paid off. Sayf and Zayd started as volunteers with MCCRC and then joined the MCCRC team as associates. For all four, their opportunities within MHRI and connection to the MedStar clinical community helped support their steps towards residency.

“We are all grateful for getting into residency and for the opportunity that helped us getting into the residency which is, in this case, MHRI-MCCRC,” said Sayf.

Sayf Yassin

Zayd Nashaat & Saif Almushhadani
Zayd comments, “We are very grateful for everything our MCCRC family provided us. They stood by us and supported us endlessly, and made everything we achieved possible!”

And from Saif, “My time with MCCRC was such an enhancing experience. It helped me widen my knowledge in the clinical research field. It also, with the support of management and my coworkers, opened the door to my dream to come true. It was such an honor working with such an amazing family.”

Thank you Dr. Sayf Yassin, Dr. Zayd Nashaat, Dr. Saif Almushhadani, and Dr. Nawar Suleman for sharing your time with us at MCCRC and we wish you the best success now and in your bright medical futures!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Digital Transformation

Below is my monthly message for the August 2018 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

What does ‘Digital Transformation’ mean to you?

I just participated in a STARLab (Socio-Technical Action Research Lab) dedicated to this topic. In these roundtable discussions, a diverse group of people shared their experience, perspective, and vision for how the coming digital transformations will change our lives and, subsequently, our business models. This think-tank activity took place in Silicon Valley (of course!) and was attended by approximately 50 people representing very diversified business lines such as Google, Amgen, BASF (a chemical company), Deutsch Bank, Magellan Health, Nike, and Shell.
So what did I learn? Here is an abridged list:
The orginal 2007 iPhone next to the 2017 update (via Cnet)
  • The speed of digital change is accelerating so the changes we saw in the last 5-10 years will pale in comparison to what we will see in the next 10 years.  (Think about that: the iPhone was introduced just over 10 years ago.)
  • Because of the increasing rate of change, we need to learn faster, try more things, and be willing to fail (and fail as quickly as possible, so we can move on to another idea).
  • If we don’t disrupt our own business models (re-invent ourselves in the increasingly digital world) someone else will.
  • Digitalization of everything will drive increased efficiency and change consumer expectations (more, faster, easier).
  • Digital transformation is no longer an opportunity… it is an imperative!
Besides gaining information on the future digital changes, I also learned a lot from listening to these other large, global companies. For example, most have a matrixed organizational structure and struggle to combat the silo effect. Silos can make it hard to recognize the synergistic potential across the entire organization, so many have developed internal ‘social networking’ tools to build collaboration. Furthermore, the younger companies recognize the need to constantly change. For example, Google anticipates the need to continually change by incorporating an assessment of agility and the applicants’ comfort with change when they recruit any team member. They seek employees that view a career as a journey and not a destination.

Pepper can perceive emotions (via SoftBank)

Healthcare can learn a lot from these companies. At MHRI, we have many digital transformation initiatives happening right now! This includes: 1) our recent implementation of our CTMS (clinical trial management system) across the entire system and in partnership with Georgetown, 2) the ongoing implantation of a new IRB electronic platform (Huron Research Systems), also in partnership with Georgetown, 3) continued integration of research with our EHR (PowerTrials) and 4) the exploration this year of new mobile technologies that support clinical trial operations.

The digital transformation is an exciting time for healthcare and filled with unimaginable opportunities. With the help of these technologies, we will be able to advance health like never before. I am excited for tomorrow and working with the entire MedStar-Georgetown community to create that tomorrow together.

I hope you are enjoying the summer. Enjoy this month’s issue of FOCUS.


Monday, July 30, 2018

MedStar Investigator Performs at Concert with Foo Fighters!

Dr. Lew Schon is a talented orthopedic surgeon and an internationally recognized clinical investigator but did you know he is also a 'rock star' in the literal sense?

That is right, for the SECOND TIME, Dr. Schon was invited up onto stage in Boston's Fenway Park to perform with the Foo Fighters.

The band's front man, Dave Grohl broke his ankle in 2015 and had a chance to get to know Dr. Schon.  They have remained close ever since.  That, combined with the 'bigger than life' attitude, made it a natural for this MedStar investigator to get up on stage.  See the fun video at the Baltimore Sun link

Congratulations Lew - looks like you had a lot of fun with it!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Cerner Research Summit

I just returned from Kansas City this past week where several MedStar - Georgetown research colleagues attended Cerner's Research Summit.  Cerner is the electronic health system (EHR) MedStar uses across its inpatient and ambulatory locations.  Built within the  EHR is 'PowerTrials' to support our research activity.  MedStar went live with PowerTrials in February providing information in the 'bannar bar' and 'tabs' if the patient is on research and giving alerts to the clinicians and to the research team when the patient comes to the emergency room.

Given that many of Cerner's clients are big academic health care systems, they decided to bring us together to share best practices and discuss new initiatives /  enhancements to their system. We heard about innovative approaches to cohort identification from Indiana University, about merging data from disparate EHR's from the 'DC Cohort' and about enabling the learning health system (across different health systems) from Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Overall, it was very informative and a great opportunity to network with other like-minded health systems.  And of course, if you are out of town with your colleagues, you have to find a place to have a little food and wine!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Updates on Our Diabetes Research

One of the goals we set forth in our operating goals for FY 18 was to extend the reach and offerings of our lunch and learns. Earlier this year, we partnered with our human resources department to present on our educational/professional development assistance programs.

To close out our fiscal year, the Associate Engagement Committee (who has been spearheading the growth of our lunch and learns) invited Sue Shapiro, BSN, RN, CCRC, a long-time associate of MHRI, to share an update on one our diabetes research programs. The NIDDK-sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and ongoing DPP Outcomes Study (DPPOS) are major studies that changed the way people approach Type 2 diabetes prevention worldwide. Sue is the program manager for the DPPOS at MedStar Health.

With nearly 20 people in the room and 20 more on our “live-streamed” WebEx, it was great to hear about the impact of this research on how we approach diabetes care today. Thanks to Sue and all the members of the DPP/DPPOS teams who are advancing health!

With our new technology, we were also able to record the session! If you missed the presentation, you can view the video here.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

MHRI Actively Participates and Leads at MAGI

Guest Blogger:
Christina Stanger, MA, CRA
Director, Office of Contract and Grant Management, MedStar Health Research Institute

In late May, MAGI held its east coast conference in Arlington, VA.  Our MHRI associates showed up in numbers to speak and learn about advances and regulation changes for commercial clinical trials. Attendees from MHRI included Colleen Kelly, Karen Barnes, Amy Crupiti, and Tamika Samuel. Here’s what our associates had to say about the conference:
  • This was my first time attending the MAGI conference and I hope it will not be my last! The conference provided dozens of workshops and sessions for site management, regulatory, contracts, operations, etc. and also provided a unique opportunity to network with experts in all aspects of the clinical trial field. I especially enjoyed attending the Sponsor and CRO panel discussion about the start-up and selection process for ‘Super Sites’.” Colleen Kelly
  • “I enjoyed attending sessions from non-contract clinical tracks (ie-regulatory and budgets). It helped give me a more well-rounded view of clinical studies.” Amy Crupiti
  • “I found the MAGI conference to be extremely educational and I enjoyed hearing the Sponsor perspective on contracting for clinical research. The environment was very productive and provided many opportunities for participants to mingle with Sponsors and CRO’s.” Karen Barnes
  • “This was my first experience as an attendee at the MAGI conference. As a new MedStar Health employee in a clinical research role, I was thrilled at the breadth of topics that were presented. I especially enjoyed the camaraderie of the individuals and the ability to network with a number of clinical research experts. Additionally, I was thrilled to realize that all of the presentations were available for review after the conference, especially for talks and workshops that I was not able to attend." Tamika Samuel

MHRI had at least one person speaking on each day of the conference, including the workshop days. MHRI speakers co-presented with colleagues from UNC, Yale, Abbvie, PFS Clinical, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, UVA, Ankura, Ohio State, and several independent law and consulting firms. Speakers representing MHRI included:
  • Mary Anne Hinkson: Billing Compliance Jeopardy
  • Candice Vance: Billing Compliance
  • Chad League: Managing Risk: Subject Injury and Insurance
  • Andrew Carter: Into the Abyss: Subject Injury and Indemnification
  • Tina Stanger: Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trials
  • Kate Cohen: sIRB, Common Rule, and FDA- Managing Different Regulatory Standards
  • Maureen McNulty: Regulatory Inspections of Research Sites

Some participants’ comments on the our MHRI-led presentations included:
  • “Well organized. One of my favorite sessions and I exclusively attended contract courses.”
  • “Great real-life examples on subject injury.”
  • “Extremely useful information that I will take back to our organization for investigator-initiated agreements”
  • “Good presentation with lots of helpful info”
  • "Excellent suggestions for making a billing compliance program successful"
MAGI is a professional organization that strives to streamline “clinical research by standardizing best practices for clinical operations, business, and regulatory compliance.” Their conferences offer tracks in site management, regulatory, clinical operations, contracting, budgeting, and special topics. To find out more about MAGI visit