Photos: Hoag Levins
Speaking before a packed house at the opening Plenary of the 2019 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM), President and CEO
Lisa Simpson (above) sounded an alert. “We are seeing unprecedented disruption in how facts, evidence and data are created, challenged or believed,” she told the audience of health services research professionals. “I think our community needs to wrestle head-on with these challenges or else we risk becoming irrelevant. We must adapt to the future and capitalize on the technology and data transformation, navigate an increasingly polarized and fragmented public discourse, and be prepared for disruption everywhere, including the current academic paradigm. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and be content securing our next grant, next contract, or adding another peer-reviewed publication to our resume. Collectively and individually, we have the added responsibility for speaking up for science and evidence whenever we can with everyone we know and in every setting.”
Spread across two separate capital convention centers, it was the most heavily attended Annual Research Meeting in AcademyHealth’s history. The three-day event included 546 scientists speaking at 150 sessions. More than three dozen of the panelists were LDI Senior and Associate Fellows.
Manning the LDI booth as the AcademyHealth Exhibition Hall opens are Wharton Health Care Management PhD students and LDI Associate Fellows Mei-Lynn Hua, Molly Frean and Sarah Schutz. Special banners and web pages celebrated the 20th Anniversary of LDI’s Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) program.
Beginning their rounds through the hall exhibits and helping herald the 20th Anniversary of their program are 2019 SUMR Scholars Bryson Houston, Brian Valladares, Khalid El-Jack, Jason Mazique, and Abeselom Gebreyesus.
Among the conference’s first round of 8:45 a.m. Sunday presentation panels was “Innovative Methods in Implementation Science” chaired by Rinad Beidas, PhD, Director of the Penn Implementation Science Center (PISCE) at Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute. The session’s large crowd demonstrated rapidly growing interest in this field focused on developing techniques to enhance the adoption, implementation and sustained use of evidence-based practices in real-world health care settings. Looking back over ten years, Beidas noted a great deal of progress has been made in identifying barriers to, and facilitators of, these processes. She discussed the latest approach — called implementation mapping — for the design, selection and tailoring of implementation strategies.
Chatting on the expo hall floor are University of Michigan Professor of Health Management and Policy Andrew Ryan, PhD, and Penn Medicine Assistant Professor and LDI Senior Fellow Amol Navathe, MD, PhD, both of whom were panel speakers.
LDI Senior Fellow and Penn Perelman School Professor of Pediatrics Jeffrey Silber, MD, PhD, talks with Rebecca Anhang Price, PhD, a Senior Policy Researcher at RAND, and Rachel Henke, PhD, Senior Director of Research at IBM Watson Health.
LDI Associate Fellow and Penn National Clinician Scholar Kirstin Manges, PhD, RN, discussed her studies in how team-based health care might be measured. A major point was that clinical team members are often not on the same page as they prepare to discharge patients, and how what she called the “Shared Mental Models” concept can help address that.
Penn Professor and LDI Executive Director Rachel Werner, MD, PhD, presented on a study exploring how extending a discharged Medicare hospital patient’s stay in a skilled nursing home (SNF) by one day would impact the 30-day rehospitalization rate and other outcomes. The work pivoted around the fact that Medicare fully pays for the first 20 patient days in a SNF, after which the patient is charged a significant daily co-pay. This tends to influence patient discharges on the 20th day because either the patient wants to avoid the co-pay or the SNF is wary of taking on potentially bad debt. The study found that an extra day beyond the 20th tended to lower rehospitalization rates by 0.6 percent.
Penn Nursing Assistant Professor and LDI Senior Fellow Karen Lasater, PhD, RN, explains her poster of a study focused on organizational performance quality for hospitals and patients. Lasater also won an award at the conference and was a panel presenter.
Penn Center for Mental Health Assistant Professor and LDI Senior Fellow Molly Candon, PhD, with her poster of a study about Medicare and “concierge,” or retainer-based health care services. She discussed the findings with Anna Sommers, PhD, a Senior Public Health Analyst at RTI International. See additional Penn poster presenters
A major highlight of the Annual Research Meeting is LDI’s party; this year’s took place in the Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar not far from the Convention Center. The gathering — particularly in Washington, a major crossroads for health services research professionals — draws current and former Penn/LDI faculty members, clinical scholars, MSHP fellows, and other alumni.
Sharing fond memories and mojitos are Charlene Wong, MD, former RWJF Clinical Scholar and LDI Senior Fellow now at Duke University School of Medicine; Kira Ryskina, MD, Assistant Professor in the Perelman Division of General Internal Medicine and current Senior Fellow; and Marilyn Schapira, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine at Philadelphia’s Crescenz VA Medical Center and current LDI Senior Fellow.
Engaged in their own cheerful homecoming of sorts in another corner of Cuba Libre are former Wharton Health Care Management PhD alums Adam Powell, PhD, President of Payer + Provider Syndicate; Stacey McMorrow, PhD, Principal Research Associate at the Urban Institute; Colleen Beecken-Rye, PhD, Director of the Telehealth Office of the U.S. Army Medical Department; and Andrew Mulcahy, PhD, MPP, Associate Director of the Economics, Sociology and Statistics Department at RAND.
Making their own LDI history are current SUMR Scholars Aminata Jalloh, Phiwie Ndebele-Ngwenya, Kayla Dunn, Abeselom Gebreyesus, Kaliya Greenidge, Bryson Houston, and Brittany Wiafe.