LDI Senior Fellows and Perelman School of Medicine Assistant Professors Margaret Lowenstein and Marina Serper have been awarded the inaugural grants from the new LDI-Penn Medicine Research Laboratory. Announced in September 2021, the Research Lab sought proposals focused on “Expanding Health Care Delivery Using Non-Traditional Care Approaches.”

The Research Lab is an initiative blending the expertise of LDI-affiliated health services researchers and Penn Medicine’s clinical expertise, data, and experience in health care delivery. The goals of the strategic partnership are both to advance LDI’s mission of developing generalizable knowledge to improve health care delivery, and to generate actionable knowledge which guides Penn Medicine’s operational decisions towards ensuring that patients receive the best care.

The two awarded grants are:

Novel Approaches to Expand Treatment for Hospitalized Patients with Opioid Use Disorder: Needs Assessment and Evaluation of a Pilot Addiction Medicine Consultation Model

Principal Investigator: Margaret Lowenstein, MD, MPhil, MSHP, LDI Senior Fellow and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School

Although randomized controlled trials support the efficacy of initiating medications for opioid use disorders in acute care settings, only a minority of hospitalized patients receive evidence-based treatment, and there are significant racial disparities. We need novel delivery strategies that address the particular needs of this population, including complex medical and substance use treatment. One emerging model is addiction medicine consultation services, which typically involve a multidisciplinary care team focused on addiction treatment and linkage to appropriate post-discharge care. Penn Medicine will implement a pilot Addiction Medicine Consult Service at a single hospital in July 2022. In this project, we will: 1) conduct a needs assessment of OUD care across Penn hospitals; and 2) evaluate the pilot addiction medicine consult model with an exploratory teleconsultation component. We will develop data-driven recommendations for expanding addiction consultation at Penn, including model staffing requirements and budgetary resources needed to deliver high quality, equitable, and sustainable addiction care.

Penn Population Pathway for NAFLD (P3 NAFLD)

Principal Investigator: Marina Serper, MD, MS, LDI Senior Fellow and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 37% of U.S. adults and can lead to the development of cirrhosis, liver cancer, and increased cardiovascular mortality. It also has a disproportionate impact on the U.S. Hispanic/Latinx population and lower income individuals. Because NAFLD is clinically silent until late stages of disease, there are opportunities to deliver evidence-based care for NAFLD with a population health approach. In this project, we will implement the Penn Population Pathway for NAFLD. This novel approach will enable us to: 1) identify the population of patients at Penn Medicine with a high probability of NAFLD using validated EHR algorithms, 2) perform noninvasive fibrosis assessment using a combination of laboratory and elastography/ultrasound imaging, and 3) link identified individuals to primary and/or specialty care based on disease risk. Our pathway will identify racial and socioeconomic risk factors for adverse health outcomes, and incorporate key stakeholder feedback from health system leaders, clinicians, patients, and professional society representatives. We will evaluate intervention fidelity and scalability with the plan to deploy the pathway health system-wide.

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