Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sharing the Importance of Clinical Research with the Community

Guest Blogger:
Eva Hochberger
Communications & Planning Manager  |  Office of Research Development, Planning & Communications
I’ve spent the last six years working for companies that support clinical research. Because of that, I may take for granted that I understand the process and impact of participating in clinical research. But experiences aren’t universal and not everyone knows about clinical research.

We shared our event experience
on Twitter @MedStarResearch
That’s where groups like Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) and their events, Aware For All come in.

Joined by other MHRI colleagues, we were pleased to attend the Aware for All Baltimore event this week. We were on hand to talk to members of the Baltimore community about all the research that MedStar Health conducts. These conversations ranged from general information about what types of research we do to more in-depth conversations about why there are disparities in participation across different communities.

In addition to connecting with the community, MedStar was also represented on the panel presentation of clinicians. Petros Okubagzi joined, Dr. Rodrigo Garcia (EMD Serono), Mary Hesdorffer (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation), and Dr. Fabian Sandoval (Emerson Clinical Research Institute) in discussing the importance of participation in research, the protections that are in place for patients, and what makes them passionate about their work.

It was great to be a part of such an informative and engaging event!
P.s. You can follow MHRI on Twitter @MedStarResearch

Thursday, April 11, 2019

MedStar Researcher Publishes Early Findings on Complex Care Models

Dr. Derek DeLia, Director of Health Economics & Health Systems Research at  MHRI recently had several publications that highlight the nature of healthcare economics.

Dr. DeLia was a co-author on a research study, "Association of Medicaid Enrollee Characteristics and Primary Care Utilization with Cancer Outcomes for the Period Spanning Medicaid Expansion in New Jersey", which was recently published in the journal Cancer. The study was supported in part by a Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Pilot Award from the National Cancer Institute. The research sought to examine cancer outcomes that may be affected by primary care and other outpatient care utilization for Medicaid enrollees. The findings indicated that Medicaid patients with cancer diagnosed just before and in the initial year of eligibility expansion had worse outcomes than non-Medicaid cases. Researchers discovered that more targeted strategies are needed to improve outcomes among Medicaid enrollees.

Dr. DeLia also helped author Transforming Complex Care, a national initiative led by the Center for Health Care Strategies with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The goal of this initiative is to address the various medical, social and economic challenges that a patient with complex needs experience.  Dr. DeLia is co-author of two reports that were recently published.

“Alternative Staffing Models to Improve Care for Complex Patients in their Homes and Other Settings: Early Findings from the Transforming Complex Care Initiative” focuses on the use of community health workers to engage patients at three participating complex care programs. 

“Organizing Complex Care for Rural Populations: A Case Study of Three Montana Communities” seeks to examine Mountain-Pacific’s use of technology to improve access to health care in rural Montana.

Congratulations Dr. DeLia for your dedication and commitment to such important research!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Insight on Digital Transformation

Below is my monthly message for the April 2019 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Last week, I was at a very provocative, forward-looking meeting and wanted to share some of my insights that I found most striking. The purpose of the meeting was for different companies to get insight into what is going to be needed to be successful in the emerging “Digital Transformation.”
Nike Worldwide Headquarters at the Tiger Woods Learning Center hosted the conference.

The companies that took part in the conversation were very diverse: Nike, Microsoft, Shell, InterGlobe (IndiGo Air and several hotel chains), Lowe’s, Google, BASF (largest chemical company in the world), Cambia Health (insurance) and Deutsche Bank. Some companies, like BASF, have been around for over a hundred years and others, like InterGLobe’s IndiGo Air, is only 10 years old (and is already the largest airline in India and still expanding at a rate of one new airplane each week!).

Despite the diversity of the organizations’ business lines and the wide diversity of where they currently reside on their ‘digital journey’, similar themes began to emerge:
  • The digital transformation has already started. Companies must deal with it or they will perish. In fact, most feel it is as big a change in business as the invention of mechanical tools or introduction of electricity into the workplace.
  • Our current way of doing business, including its organizational structures and associated assumptions, are going to be our biggest impediments – new models of business will need to be created.
  • As companies become more sophisticated in big data analytics they have learned that the organization’s capability to respond is lagging. This was true in even the most tech-savy organizations who became so large that they lost their nimbleness.
  • There is an ongoing tension between standardization/efficiency and innovation; Nike tells its associates to have “freedom within a framework”.
  • Its re-writing the laws of competition, often pushing the boundaries of accepted practices (e.g., Airbnb, Uber).
  • Future companies that put the customer at the center will be more successful than those that build expertise in one area. For example, one company builds and sells cars while another drills for oil and sells gasoline and a third organization manages drivers licenses but all the consumer wants is to get from one place to another. Having three transactions is tolerated because there is no other choice!
  • Organizations will no longer be working “to be built to last” but rather built “to continually evolve.”
  • The work of tomorrow will be different from the work of today so we need to hire with that competency in mind. Google purposely hires people who want to change jobs every 2-3 years.
  • Knowledge will no longer be equated to power since knowledge is only few clicks away for anyone who seeks it. Most people gain their professional success from their experience and accumulated knowledge (so speaks the guy who stayed up many long nights studying throughout medical school!); the new superpower will not be the knowledge itself, but the insights gained through the process.
  • Ambidextrous organizations will figure out how to live in today and create for tomorrow with the goal that the tomorrow company eventually puts the today company out of business. Shell is heavily investing in renewable energy sources as a result of this.
  • Someone must create the future so why not us? This will feel odd, it will challenge our comfort and it will force us to work on something we are not expert at. And since we were at Nike, they took the tagline “Just Do It” and changed it to “Just Deal with It!”

Yes, thought provoking! You may be asking why I was there. I was invited as a “free radical” to instill a perspective not represented in the room (healthcare). I was excited to share the concept of an Academic Health System that is constantly learning and that applies academic curiosity to improve our delivery of healthcare.

At MedStar Health, we have recently started our next strategic planning process. Approximately 500 clinical and administrative leaders from across the system gathered to learn about the rapid changes in healthcare, the potential role of technology, and the value of data. With the help of external experts, we are also learning from other industry successes. It’s going to be an exciting time for healthcare and I look forward to being at a place that will help create that future!

Thank you!

Read Focus at