Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Time to Upgrade!

I was recently in a meeting where I heard an update on IT initiatives occurring across the system and locally at the Research Institute. It’s amazing to see all of the various hardware and software applications that need to be updated and integrated to ensure associates and providers can do their very best work day in and day out.

Some of the IT initiatives we can expect to see in the next couple of months are Teleconferencing (WebEx) on Smartphone's, an upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 (occurred already for most) and a massive PC refresh initiative that occurs each year, on a recurring four year cycle. I’m especially excited about the PC refresh project as it means roughly 150 desktops and 20 laptops will be swapped out and replaced with brand new models.  We are also taking this opportunity to work with departments needing to adapt to changing work flow by replacing desktops with laptop/docking station combos. Finally, knowing that we can’t always control the desk space we have available to us, we will procure “micro form factor” PCs that are about a third of the foot print as a regular PC… yet have the same CPU and memory as their larger counterpart.    

Communication will be forthcoming around the PC refresh project, but I would like to extend a big thank you to the MedStar Health’s dedicated and knowledgeable IT team for keeping us all connected!

Opportunity for Surgical Resident Research Award & Faculty Mentorship

With more than 1,000 residents across MedStar Health, MHRI is always striving to put research opportunities into the hands of this talented group.

One way we’re able to accomplish this is through partnerships such as the newly launched MedStar Surgical Resident Research Program (SRRP), sponsored jointly by MHRI, the MedStar-Georgetown Surgical Outcomes Research Center, and MedStar Health Academic Affairs.

The goal of this one-year program is to support the development of MedStar surgical residents in the MedStar Washington region pursuing careers focused on clinical, translational and medical education research in academic surgery. In particular, it serves to support the development of strong faculty/resident mentoring around academic research during the clinical years of surgical residency.

Surgery residents who seek to become independent, extramurally-supported clinical investigators should apply. We’re also asking residents to choose a faculty member to serve as their mentor.

These types of programs support the clinical research community and the graduate medical education community, thereby integrating research and academics in a real world clinical setting. This is what makes us an academic healthcare system and allows MedStar to look towards the future of clinical research through innovation.

Applications for the program are due April 1st, 2016. To learn more, please visit the SRRP webpageTo learn more about MHRI support for residents and fellows, please visit our resident research support webpage.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Celebrating HeRO’s at MHRI

Congratulations to Amy Loveland and the MedStar Community Clinical Research Center (MCCRC) team for receiving the Good Catch Patient Advocacy Award! Dr. Seth Krevat, assistant vice president for Safety at MedStar Health, came to our UTC offices to present Amy and her colleagues with the award!  Dr. Krevat travels to different locations to surprise MedStar employees with acknowledgement of their efforts to make MedStar a High Reliability Organization through their efforts in increasing patient safety and satisfaction.

Recognized in the MedStar Quality and Safety Department’s weekly “Good Catch Monday” email, Amy identified a potential trial participant but noticed a possible allergy to Bactrim, a sulfa class drug in his history. As the sulfa allergy may have excluded the participant from the trial, Amy not only identified the potential allergy to the class of drug, but was also able to work with an allergist at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH) to have the patient come in for testing.

Her attention to the details and her follow through with this patient not only allowed MCCRC to include the patient in their trial, it allowed the patient to go home with the knowledge of his Bactrim  allergy and that MedStar Health was here to support his health. This act exemplifies how all patients are important and their willingness to participate in trials is what helps make MHRI successful.

Amy also took a moment to share her thanks and support from the rest of the MCCRC team, specifically Maria Hurtado who helped her reach out to MGUH and helped her speak up for patient safety and reliability.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How MHRI Researchers are Changing the Care Patients Receive

One of our own researchers, Dr. Kelly M. Smith, PhD, scientific director, Quality & Safety Research, has published a position paper in Annals of Internal Medicine on the issues faced in patient-centered care.

As a result of this research, MedStar Health is piloting a program aimed at encouraging patients to share, in real time, their feedback regarding their care. We have launched the We Want to Know as an intensive program aimed at encouraging patients and their families to be active in their care through feedback to their providers.

The changes that MedStar is piloting serves to show that research can directly impact the care that patients receive. Congratulations Dr. Smith!

Monday, February 15, 2016

MHRI Celebrates Go Red!

In support of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) fight against heart disease and the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) efforts to Stop Diabetes, MHRI celebrated “Go Red” day on February 11, 2016. 

For the fourth year, MHRI departments have shown their support of American Heart month by taking creative photos of their teams wearing red. Check out the great photos submitted so far below.

It's not too late to submit you team's “Go Red” photos by close of business, Monday, February 15, 2016 to

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cardio Cookies

This is cute!

February is American Heart Month so our colleagues across the Research Institute have found creative ways to celebrate and remind us of the importance of heart health.

Well, here is a new one for me - Cardio Cookies!

Check out the ECG's and anatomical heart within the valentine.  This was the creative work of Christine Chen, research coordinator at the MedStar ambulatory research center in Hyattsville.

And for those that like a challenge, who can name the white structure in the top heart (hint - it occurs most often in newborns)?

Hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day on Sunday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Clinical Trial Management System

I am so excited to officially announce that MedStar Health (in collaboration with Georgetown University Medical Center) have reached a joint agreement with Forte Research Systems, Inc., for the implementation of its Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS) software solution, OnCore®.

We began looking for a CTMS that would be able to support the needs of our institution, beginning in early 2015. Last May, 10 MHRI leaders were able to see the CTMS in place at two academic hospitals (read about the road trip here) to gain a better understanding of the systems in action. Over 100 associates from both MHRI and GUMC assisted us in choosing a system that will suit our needs.

The implementation of a single CTMS across both Georgetown and MedStar means that we will have a unified infrastructure for the conduct of clinical research which will be helpful for the research teams that do multi-site clinical studies. Specifically, the CTMS will provide greater efficiency around protocol management, billing, compliance and patient recruitment and outcomes.

The OnCore® CTMS suite will be implemented in our cardiology and oncology departments as pilot systems this year and will be integrated into all MHRI departments after we fully vet the pilot.

This agreement is a great step towards the future for MHRI and the clinical research we complete.

MHRI associates and investigators will be able to learn more about the CTMS at the 5th annual MedStar Research Symposium.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lunch and Learn at UTC

One of the great things about research and a research institute is that we embrace learning and creating a learning environment. It is in this setting that MHRI associates at our University Town Center office suggested (and created) a “lunch and learn” opportunity.  Last week was the first session led by Patricia Evans, from the Office of Financial Management, and the hot topic of the day was how to use Excel more effectively, such as pivot table, along with other tips and tricks.
It was a full house, with associates from across departments there to learn. Some came with skills, others had never heard of pivot tables. It was great to showcase the skills of one of our associates to help others.

With the large amount of data that is available to us throughout our research institute, and from other researchers around the nation, having a new way to look at this data which can enhance our research productivity and efficiency.

It was great to see associates come together and learn from each other - it show the depth of knowledge within our organization and the generosity of our associates to share it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hungry Harvest Featured on Shark Tank!

Shark Tank is a favorite at my home - its fun to learn about these new company ideas and entertaining to see the 'sharks' interact with the entrepreneur trying to pitch their idea. Just recently, it was particularly enjoyable because one of the featured companies was Hungry Harvest.

Hungry Harvest has a mission to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to more people. They take produce that may not be 'perfect' and therefore not sold at a retail store and offers delivery directly to your home or office at a reasonable price. The great thing about their company is that they also practice a 1-for-1 system, so for each box of produce that is purchased and delivered, it donates an equal amount to a food bank.

Photo of Hungry Harvest on Shark Tank,
from their Facebook page.
This is special because MHRI was one of Hungry Harvest’s first customers – that’s right, every week the company delivers bags of produce to our associates who sign up for the service. It’s a great way to practice wellness, while also giving back to the community!

What is more, this homegrown company is full of employees from the area. The CEO and co-founder, Evan Lutz is a graduate of University of Maryland and son of an MHRI associate!

And in case you were wondering….Evan did great on the show and walked away with an investment from shark, Robert Herjavec!

Learn more about Hungry Harvest as