Atul Gawande Keynotes AHRQ Annual Conference

Second Plenary Session of AHRQ 2010 Annual Conference
Tue, Sept 28

Clancy Addresses AHRQ

Clancy Addresses AHRQ

Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Director of AHRQ, the health research arm of Health and Human Services, introduced the second plenary session of AHRQ 2010 Annual Conference in Bethesda, Maryland on September 28, 2010.

Clancy introduced Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, Boston surgeon, author, and New Yorker writer as this morning’s keynote speaker. Gawande said he insists that members of his research team read Michael Lewis’s Money Ball about the man who introduced metrics (stats) into choosing the best baseball talent.

If the metrics baseball innovator, Billy Dean, were a government man, the title of Lewis’s book would have been Baseball Services Research. Gawande went on to describe how research had been used to improve the medical support for US troops in the field including achieving the actual use of kevlar in the field, redesigning sunglasses that previously looked uncool, and  conducting partial surgery right in the field, and leaving the remainder to be done elsewhere.

Atul Gawande, MD prior to keynote

Atul Gawande, MD prior to keynote

After speaking about comparative effectiveness research, Gawande mentioned the work of Jeffrey Brenner, MD, of Camden, NJ, without naming him in his talk. This “Camden physician” has studied and set up services that help the most vulnerable, chronically ill patients, mostly with drug and alcohol problems, many homeless. This project is being performed under the umbrella of Camden Coalition for Healthcare Providers.

As a New Jersey resident, this blogger first heard about Dr. Brenner’s project from a presentation he gave at a New Jersey Health IT Commission meeting. Dr. Brenner’s work is now forming the foundation for the Camden Health Information Exchange in a partnership between three highly competitive hospital systems–Cooper University Hospital, Virtua Health System, and Lady Of Lourdes Health System, with support from the Merck Company Foundation. Camden HIE is one of the four HIEs within the state which will receive funding via the state from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT, as part of the State’s HIE Cooperative plan with ONC.
AHRQ has so many research areas, including Health IT. There will be additions to this post over the next few days about some of those other areas.

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