Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Research Compliance Director Presents at National Conference

Guest Blogger:
Kate Cohen, JD, CHRC, CIP 
Research Compliance Director (Office of Corporate Business Integrity)

I had the pleasure of speaking at the 13th Annual Clinical Research Billing Conference in Orlando, Florida during the first week of March. I was asked to present about the value of partnering with compliance as part of your research billing program. I was paired with Quincy Byrdsong, Executive Director for Research Administration at WellStar Research Institute in Marietta, Georgia, and together we spoke about the integral role that both ethics and compliance should play in a research billing program.

It was rewarding to meet so many research billing professionals from across the country. I felt warmly welcomed into this group of professionals and spent the few days of the conference comparing processes, exchanging stories, and promising to use each other as resources. The connections I have the opportunity to make at these conferences are invaluable. It’s nice to be able to “phone a friend” when you need to!

During the conference, I was lucky enough to win a stuffed animal and a pair of Mickey hands and mouse ears from one of the vendors, which delighted my children. I appreciate the support of the MedStar Office of Corporate Business Integrity, which allows me to accept speaking invitations like this one and attend conferences where I can continue to grow as a research compliance professional.

Monday, March 25, 2019

MedStar Diabetes Research Funds Supports Research for Stromal Cells in Diabetes

Congratulations are in order to the research team from MedStar Union Memorial Hospital and the Orthobiologic Labatory! The team, led by Zijun Zhang, included Lew Schon, Young Cho, Reed Mitchell, Sharada Paudel, and Tyler Feltham, recently published their research, "Compromised Antibacterial Function of Multipotent Stromal Cells in Diabetes ", in Stem Cells and Development.

This research was funded by the MedStar Diabetes Research Grant in 2016. The study analyzes multipotent stormal cells (MSCs) of persons with diabetes and examines the weakened ability to fight off bacterial infection.  The study team isolated MSCs from the bone marrow of 9 diabetic and non-diabetic donors.  These cells were examined for bacterial growth and treated with or without cultures of E. coli.  The results concluded that MSCs of persons with diabetes are deficient in antibacterial infection, including the diminished potential to fight off the growth of bacteria.

You can read more about this great work in the press release here.

**The Request For Proposal (RFP) is now available for the 2019 MedStar Diabetes Research Grant.  Applications are due by 11:59 PM on May 13, 2019. For more information on Intramural Grant Opportunities, please visit our website.**

Saturday, March 23, 2019

MedStar Genetic Medicine: Pharmacogenomics 2019

So what did you do this Saturday morning?  

Well, I decided to spend the morning learning about an exciting new area of medicine - the use of genomic information to customize an individuals medical therapy so it is more effective and far safer (personalized medicine). 

This conference was specifically on the use of the genomic information to guide drug (pharmacological) therapy which is called pharmacogenomics. MedStar leaders in this field, along with national experts, presented data from our recent pilot study. It’s exciting to see this new field emerge and how research findings are used to support this new initiative. 

If you have any questions or suggestions, or just want more information, email:


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

MedStar 2019 Associate Survey: Share Your Feedback!

Every two years, associates at MHRI and across MedStar are asked to complete the Associate Survey. Throughout the years, I am proud we have sustained high associate participation.

Survey participation has grown dramatically since the first survey, and it’s important that we sustain a high level of participation at MHRI. Our goal is to achieve 80 percent participation this year—as well as maintain or improve engagement at the entity level. RIght now, we are over half-way to our goal in participation!

The Power of the Survey

Since the 2017 results were reported, more than 4,600 unique actions plans were created by managers and/or supervisors and above, and associates, across the system.

Some of the positive changes in our organization that resulted from your feedback and engagement include:
  • We continue to grow the professional development program:

o   We established an MHRI professional development fund that goes beyond educational assistance.
o   We’ve added certificate programs to the educational assistance program to further expand the support for professional growth.
o   We have career ladders for many new areas throughout the organization.
  • We’ve maintained our commitment to associate recognition with the SPIRIT Award and Kudos programs, along with adding We Are MHRI to highlight associates.

  • We have invested in our managers with dedicated facilitated sessions to help them grow as a team leader, providing support for every associate.

One of the most insightful sources of survey feedback comes from associate comments. In the MedStar 2017 Associate Survey, MedStar received more than 21,000 comments from associates. This feedback not only impacts changes across our entity and system, but it also reminds us of the joy and meaning we share in the workplace.

Building on the enthusiastic response from the 2015 MedStar Associate Survey, in 2017, associates were asked to comment on the one thing they enjoy most about working at MedStar Health. We received nearly 11,000 comments in response, providing invaluable insight to strong shared values across the organization. More than 2,000 comments mentioned patients, and more than 3,000 referenced co-workers and teamwork. Associates also referenced serving people and the community, their sense of purpose, the opportunity to expand their skills, and their passion for patient safety and care, and more. The comments represent the true engagement of our associates.

What do you most enjoy about working at MHRI? Please let us know.

Your input has a significant impact on MHRI. March 4–24, 2019 is your opportunity to help us power change, growth and success by taking the MedStar 2019 Associate Survey. Visit www.MedStarAssociateSurvey.org to complete your survey.

Monday, March 18, 2019

MedStar Research on EHR Safety Prominently Cited in Fortune Magazine

Over the past year, I’ve been able to write several times about the work that teams from MedStar Health are conducting into the usage of EHRs. From the initial research on the safety of the systems, to the collaborative conversation around implementation, to the pediatric perspective and the website & letter to congress, the MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare has been invested in the safety of patients.
Raj Ratwani, PhD, center director and scientific director of the MedStar Human Factors Center, has distinguished himself as a leading researcher of EHR safety and usability. He was one of the over 100 physicians, patients, IT experts and administrators, health policy leaders, attorneys, top government officials and representatives from EHR vendors who Fortune spoke with for their long-form piece, Death by a Thousand Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong.
Thank you, Raj & team, for your commitment to this important research!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

So Proud!

On April 1, 1998 (April Fools Day) I presented my first late breaking clinical trial in front of 5,000 attendees at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) annual scientific sessions. It was a milestone in my career I will never forget.

Approximately, 15 years ago, I was fortunate that an enthusiastic, smart and ambitious young cardiologist from Argentina came to Washington to do a research fellowship at MedStar in my lab.

Today (St. Patrick’s Day), that same cardiologist stood in front of thousands at ACC presenting his own late breaking clinical trial.   Dr. Federico Asch did a superb job!  His presentation was first rate and he did a great job with some very difficult questions from experts (who literally wrote the book on the topic). 

It’s a wonderful feeling to do a big presentation at a national meeting but it pales in comparison to what I experienced today. I could not be prouder!  

Congratulations Federico!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Making Technology Work for Us: Successful EMR Access

Guest Blogger:Terri Moriarty, MSN
Research Nurse Coordinator

We are truly all electronic!

MCRC has completed its first completely electronic monitoring visit. Earlier this month, monitors from a CRO were SUCCESSFULLY granted read-only EMR access for final monitoring of participating study subjects. This was made possible through use of PowerTrials as part of our MedConnect System.

While this was no easy feat, this makes the monitoring process so much easier and efficient for everyone involved. The auditor functionality with PowerTrials allows for monitors to work independently, which frees up the coordinator’s time to screen and enroll more subjects.

With the implementation of PowerTrials back in 2018, this was a great usage of the tool for us.

This was a collaborative effort between MCRC administrative personnel, MCRN Administration and Coordinators, IT and HR. I would like to say a special “Thank You” to all involved over the past 3 months in making this happen. Kudos to Haley Call, Clark Bean and Kim Kemp for helping navigate the process of the correct completion of the ASAP tickets and coordination of reserving space for the team with computer access. I would like to thank Petros and Suman for assisting Ron and myself on the journey climbing this hill. To the IT Department, thanks to all who helped granting access to specific participants and lend a hand along the way.

While there were many cooks in the kitchen, we made a gourmet meal.

Note from Neil: The PowerTrials/MedConnect integration brought many benefits to our research program at MedStar.  It was implemented in part due to feedback from our research teams and I'm pleased that the system was about to deliver and make the process easier.

After the launch of the connection (details on the integration here), one of our clinical research coordinators shared his story on how the system helped him track an AE with his patient.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

MedStar Health Launches New Campaign with Focus on How We Treat People

At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and best of our hearts to serve our community, patients, and those who care for them. We never forget the importance of how we treat people. MedStar Health launched our annual brand campaign message on Monday, March 4: It’s How We Treat People. The campaign message is an opportunity to tell a compelling system wide story about MedStar Health that relates to everything from clinical care to research to education.

This promise, It’s How We Treat People, is rooted in the idea that we treat people in two very important ways: how we treat people with great medicine and how we treat people by living our SPIRIT values: Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork. The commercial delivers a wonderful level of emotional resonance, which is a key driving factor in healthcare decisions.

In case you missed the premiere of the anthem video on on March 4, you can watch it at bit.ly/TreatPeople

This month, you will see MedStar advertising appear on TV, radio, and the internet, as well as with our in-season sports partners. You can read more about the great stories of how we treat people at  https://www.medstarhealth.org/mhs/about-medstar/its-how-we-treat-people/.

And, when interacting with patients and colleagues, remember our campaign promise: It’s How We Treat People.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

MedStar Research Gets Widely Recognized and Cited in WSJ

I love when our great research helps inform others in the field to advance health.  I love it even more when others recognize our work and it makes it from the scientific literature to the main stream media.  That is what happened today in the Wall Street Journal's opinion-editorial page.

In this editorial, the author cites research from our MedStar Health National Center in Human Factors in Healthcare where they say "In studies published in the past year, researchers from MedStar Health analyzed data from hundreds of health-care organizations..."

We are proud of our research that improves patient safety and glad others recognize the importance of this work!


Monday, March 4, 2019

20 Years Powered by You

Below is my monthly message for the March 2019 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at MedStarResearch.org/FOCUS.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Several years ago, I started my monthly message with “Move over business leaders, the scientists will show you how it works!” In that message, I shared how a series of Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles discussed the science of teamwork and how functional MRI scans helped the scientists understand why one workplace was preferable over another.

The results were fascinating! The experiments showed that having a sense of higher purpose stimulates oxytocin production, as does trust. Trust and purpose then mutually reinforce each other for even higher levels of oxytocin, which produces happiness.

Applying this to the workplace, joy on the job can come from doing purpose-driven work with a trusted team. This scenario leads to higher engagement, with a strong connection with one’s work and colleagues, supporting the work as a contributor to the team, and enjoying ample chance to learn.

And there is more! We can act on this data to make our workplace better. There are several effective ways to increase oxytocin levels: 1) recognizing excellence; 2) giving people discretion in how they do their work; 3) sharing information broadly through good communication; 4) building relationships, and; 5) helping people develop personally and professionally. However, in order to know which of these areas to focus on, team members need to provide input, advice, and feedback.

I am reminded about this HBR article because the MedStar 2019 Associate Survey launches on Monday, March 4th and asks your opinion on Career Development and Training, Communications, Engagement, Leadership and Direction, Performance Management, Patient First, Supervision, Total Rewards, and Teamwork. The success of MedStar and MHRI is thanks to 20 Years Powered by You and it is only by hearing from you can we continue to improve over the next 20 years. This survey is online and only takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Visit www.MedStarAssociateSurvey.org 
to voice your opinion.

Together, we are building a world-class research organization that propels us to a nationally recognized academic health system. Thank you for completing the survey—one of the most vital ways we may ensure another 20 years Powered by You.

Together, we will raise all of our oxytocin levels to new heights!

Thank you!

Read Focus at MedStarResearch.org/FOCUS.