Monday, October 22, 2018

ASEFoundation Mission in WV

It's great when you can 'give back' and do it with professional friends from around the country.  That was how I felt this weekend when I volunteered with the American Soc of Echocardiography (ASE) Foundation providing free screening to over 350 people in West Virginia.

Several ASE members flew or drove into Morgantown (home of West Virginia University), where we used hand-held echo and wireless blood pressure cuffs and ECG's to perform cardiovascular screening. Among those that came through, we detected several conditions, including someone who had critical narrowing of his aortic valve (main valve leaving the heart) and will need an operation.

There was a lot of Twitter activity throughout the weekend with great pics - here are a few!
You can see/read more from the weekend on Twitter:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

MedStar-Georgetown Summer Research Capstone 2018

The MedStar-Georgetown Summer Research Capstone was held on Wednesday, October 10th at the French Embassy. This event is the culmination of the summer experience for second year medical students who received scholarships to conduct research over the summer under the guidance of a faculty mentor. This includes students who received scholarships from MedStar Health and the Georgetown Family Medicine department, stipends from the Office of the Dean at Georgetown School of Medicine, and those enrolled in the Population Health Track.

The event began with a wine reception and light hors d'oeuvres. Dr. Munish Goyal, the new director of the MedStar Summer Research Program, gave the welcome and was the moderator for the evening. He was followed by Dr. Joseph Timpone, who oversees the Dean’s stipend students. David Xiao, a current 4th year student and previous MedStar Summer Research Scholarship recipient, led the audience on a journey through his summer experience, emphasizing how it has shaped his career interest.

The main portion of the evening involved moderated poster presentations from 78 students, proudly highlighting the work they did over the 7-week summer experience. Congratulations to all students on completing a successful summer of research.  The best is yet to come! 

Learning About Safety Research at MedStar

Guest Blogger:
Eva Hochberger
Communications & Planning Manager  |  Office of Research Development, Planning & Communications

I had the opportunity recently to check out the MIND Lab space at the MedStar Health corporate offices and attend a lunch and learn by one of MedStar’s researchers, Zach Hettinger, MD, MS.

His presentation on cognitive informatics and safety research really highlighted the impact of research on patient care and what are ways that technology can be used to provide the best care to our patients.

Even for those of us who are not in a hospital, or even caring directly for patients, can benefit from the reminder that how we respond to interruptions and other stimuli is important in how well we execute our jobs. 

The threads of this research are in play across the system. A few hours after the lunch and learn, the safety moment in my meeting was one that occurred because of the ordering mechanism in the EHR. In the words of the presenter, it was an issue because we attempt to only communicate through technology, which does not always provide a clear solution for something that would be resolved by a phone call.

As a communicator, the presentation also served as an important reminder that if we make it difficult for someone to report information, it’s less likely to have a report made at all.

Dr. Hettinger is the Medical Director and Director of Cognitive Informatics, National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, MedStar Health.

Note from Neil: If you’d like to receive regular notifications on what events are happening through the MIND Lab, consider subscribing to the listserv here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Data Overload

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

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Get ready, because there is a data explosion happening in healthcare!

It was not too long ago that I would leave my weekly medical journals on my desk until I had the chance to read them. As the pile got higher and higher, I would have that constant reminder that I needed to catch up on the latest medical literature. I’ve since lost that battle, as has virtually all physicians. In fact, it is estimated that it would currently take a doctor 150 hours per week to read every piece of content published in their field of expertise.

On top of the growing amount of medical literature, much of healthcare data that was traditionally ‘unstructured’ (such as paper notes or x-ray ‘films’) is now captured digitally. And that is only the tip of the iceberg since more and more of our health data is being collected outside hospitals and clinics. How many have gotten your genetic analysis through or 23ndMe? Want a more passive and less invasive manner to collect health data? Well, our smartwatches are constantly recording heart rate, steps, and sleep patterns. In the next few years, we will likely see smart-clothes that capture respiratory rate, sweat analysis (to look at hydration status), overall activity (sleep, standing, steps, and falls), and an environmental scan (for pollutants or radiation). Smart-mirrors in your bathroom will look each morning for subtle changes such as facial dissymmetry (stroke) or early skin cancer and, combined with voice recognition, will likely be able to determine your mood and emotional well being.

All of these things create ‘data’ leading to the prediction that the amount of health data in the United States wills DOUBLE every 73 days!

So how to turn all of this ‘data’ into knowledge? Just like those journals piling up on my desk, data does us no good unless it can be converted to useful information. It is for this reason that the MHRI Board of Directors’ retreat last week was dedicated to research opportunities in data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Managing all our data, across many systems (and many new sources that have not even been identified yet) is also the reason MedStar Health is investing in an enterprise data warehouse. Furthermore, our academic partners at Georgetown recently launched an Office of Health Data Science. Together, we are investing in our future and getting prepared for the data explosion in healthcare!

Let me close to remind you about another investment in our future – the Power to Heal associate giving campaign has started and every dollar designated to ‘Research at MedStar’ will go to fund the New Investigator Grants. Since we started 3 years ago, more than 15 junior investigators received these grants to collect pilot data so they can apply for external funding. This issue of FOCUS highlights many of our successes, including those that used that pilot data to get NIH, AHRQ, or foundation grants to continue their work. This money is making a difference and helping to build our next generation of investigators. It takes only a minute at

Giving: The Power to Heal | Ron Migues, MD, and Kimberley Kemp, MSA

Thank you!

Read Focus at

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Your Power to Heal at MedStar Through Research

Join me by investing in our future and the future of research at MedStar Health! Monday marked the official launch of the 2018 Giving: The Power to Heal Campaign at MedStar Health.

You are invited to participate and make a Gift of Gratitude in honor of a colleague, friend, or caregiver. Your expression of gratitude will extend beyond your daily work and positively impact our patients and their families as gifts of gratitude in support of “Research at MedStar Health” to support the New Investigator Giving Grant Fund.

The New Investigator Giving Grant Fund helps to establish the careers of investigators who are new to MedStar, advance health for patients in the communities we serve, and provide initial funding for research that can lead to external grant funding. As a result of generous contributions in the 2017 campaign, MHRI was able to fund six awards for 2018 and over 15 since we started this campaign! Learn more about the 2018 recipients here.

Participation is simple! Your gift of any size is welcome.
  • Make a commitment online at and select ‘Research at MedStar’ in the drop-down menu to direct your donation to the New Investigator Fund.
  • Text GRANT to 51555 to access the donation form and make your gift via credit card or payroll deduction.
  • Complete the commitment form and return it to Kristi Rasmussen, Director of Philanthropy for Research, at or via Interoffice Mail to MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, Office of Philanthropy.
Once a gift is made, you will receive an email with the Gifts of Gratitude eCard so that you can express your gratitude to your honoree with a personal note! It is easy and can be very impactful.

Each year, more and more associates and investigators choose to make a donation to help support Research at MedStar Health. There are two videos below that highlight that spirit of gratitude. In the first video, hear from a research participant, expressing his appreciation for MedStar and our commitment to advancing health through research at MedStar. In the second, hear two of our colleagues expressing their appreciation for one another, their associates and advancing health through research at MedStar.

Thank you to those who made a commitment to Research at MedStar Health.