An interview with Alok Kapoor, MD, MSc a cardiovascular investigator at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester about his work on the SUPPORT-AF II Study.
By Mike Fischer, MD, MS, NaRCAD Director and written by Winnie Ho, Program Coordinator.
Tags: Cardiovascular Health, Data, Detailing Visits, Evaluation, Primary Care
Mike: We’re glad to have you join us to talk about your recent work using AD to improve anticoagulant use in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Could we start out by getting an understanding of your work and the goal you had set for your SUPPORT AF II intervention?
Alok: I am an internist doing cardiovascular outcomes research, and for the last few years I have been really laser-focused on how to fill the gap in anticoagulation use for patients with AF who have an elevated risk for stroke. These patients tend to be older adults with multiple co-morbidities, which presents certain challenges for primary care providers and cardiology specialists. The goal of our particular AD intervention was to provide evidence and patient case scenarios to show some of the common situations where patients go untreated for stroke prevention despite experts’ suggestions that therapy is warranted.
M: The underuse of anticoagulants is more common than we would like, and the impact of that underuse is substantial. What made you decide to utilize AD as a part of the intervention for your study?
A: I was thinking about an intervention that would be more than a simple reminder to providers, and thought that perhaps something more customized that would take into consideration the individual provider’s practice and experience with prescribing anticoagulants made more sense. AD was suggested as a potential strategy by our grant sponsor to address those concerns, so I began to read more into it. The SUPPORT AF II intervention is a combination of the audit and feedback reminders given in our original study, SUPPORT AF I, plus the new offering of AD.
M: How did you anticipate that those different components of the SUPPORT AF I and II interventions would work together? Were there any unanticipated surprises during the implementation?
A: I believed that the reminders would encourage providers to reach out to their subspecialty colleagues and also remind them to have discussions about anticoagulation with their patients. Then, AD would allow us to get closer to the underlying belief and resistance factors that might be making it more difficult to prescribe in challenging situations, such as a patient with prior falls, bleeds, or on other medications that can make bleeding more common. Some of these barriers included also unfamiliarity with initiating direct oral anticoagulants and guiding patients to coverage information for the cost of newer anticoagulants.
There were some specialists who were not necessarily enthusiastic about receiving messages from us. There were also providers during the course of messaging that indicated that they did not think that these messages were helpful for them, so we adapted. However, most people were appreciative or otherwise silent when receiving messages. The harder work was the convincing needed during the AD visit that could help lead to a more impactful intervention.
M: Yes, an impactful intervention is the goal. In your paper, you talked about the importance of patient choice as a factor in anticoagulant use, and this has been consistent with a few other studies of anticoagulation in AF that highlighted similar challenges. Are there any ways that you’ve thought about to adapt an AD intervention to address the importance of patient choice?
A: As part of our AD intervention, we gave prescribers a Jeopardy-type menu where you could choose which themes to explore, and one of those was a shared decision making module with resources including an app designed by my co-collaborator David McManus. This app allowed patients to input their unique conditions and circumstances into our risk stratification algorithm. Knowing the patient risk level, the provider would then be shown questions frequently asked by AF patients that would presumably help the provider address certain concerns during the next patient visit.
M: As you reflect on your experience implementing this intervention, were there themes that especially connected with the primary care providers or cardiology specialists who were receiving AD?
A: I was responsible for AD with the primary care physicians while my collaborator worked with cardiology specialists. The providers I spoke with seemed to be really drawn to the evidence in the guidelines and often requested support from me in identifying specific evidence that would be helpful as they developed their own improved management strategy around anticoagulants. I think where we could have added something more robust would be to offer providers a way to deliver these messages to their patients and how to do motivational interviewing with patients who are resistant to start a recommended therapy.
M: Support AF II is an impressive piece of work that provides many insights. Do you see other topics in cardiovascular care, or other clinical specialties where it might be useful to do similar studies to test AD to increase the use of evidence-based care?
A: There are other types of adherence issues in cardiovascular medicine that are potential targets such as blood pressure management. The issue doesn’t seem to be starting the medication, but in continuing to take it on a daily basis. The AD intervention would be done directly to the providers, but there might be value in also directly approaching the patients.
M: It would certainly be interesting to understand whether management issues are based on clinical inertia and hesitation in taking the next step, versus barriers in patient adherence itself. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today, you’ve given us all a lot to think about!
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Alok Kapoor, MD, MSc is an investigator who has developed several projects related to anticoagulation and conditions requiring anticoagulation. He is one of the former directors of the medical consultation service at Boston Medical Center. In that role, he routinely educated other providers on the need for anticoagulation versus potential harm, particularly for underserved populations. At the University of Massachusetts, he has established a focus on filling the gap in anticoagulation of patients with atrial fibrillation. This started with SUPPORT-AF, an audit and feedback project funded to give providers a snapshot of their AC prescribing rates relative to their peers and to a national benchmark. In SUPPORT-AF II, he expanded the team's previous efforts to include educational outreach in the form of academic detailing. In his subsequent efforts, he have collaborated with informatics experts to understand the potential for electronic health record-based decision support to fill the gap in AC use.
The NaRCAD Team
Tags: Cardiovascular Health, Conference, HIV/AIDS, Rural AD Programs
This year's 5th International Conference on Academic Detailing, held in Boston on November 6th & 7th, 2017, brought our programming to new heights. We were inspired by the high levels of interactivity woven into the two days of programming, ranging from live polling during expert panels to critical dialogue about dealing with stigma in the face of the opioid crisis.
We heard from various AD practitioners across the United States and Canada, with an emphasis on improving health outcomes for patients dealing with risk of heart failure, those living with chronic diseases such as COPD and diabetes, and prevention for those at high risk of contracting HIV. Our sessions were diverse in terms of content as well as geographic representation--we learned from clinical education experts about the specific challenges of detailing in rural areas, as well as from those whose role was to support detailers in the field by creating dynamic, engaging, and cost-effective educational materials.
We're grateful to the community of supporters of academic detailing, from those who work full-time in the field to those who are building programs; we were delighted to see old friends who've been attending since our very first conference, as well as to meet folks who are just getting started. If you can believe it, we're already thinking about NaRCAD2018, and we have our community to thank for it--so thank you, for raising the bar this year and bringing innovation, exciting progress, and new energy to our conference series. For those of you who missed out in person, you can enjoy highlights from 2017's program on our conference hub page.
We'll be announcing the dates for our 2018 conference in early January 2018, and we'll be opening the process for presentation applications on March 1st, 2018, so check our Conference Series page for both announcements. Whether you choose to present, attend, or tune in via on-demand video and social media, we wish you a happy rest of 2017, and we hope to help your program grow in 2018.
See you next year!
-The NaRCAD Team
Tags: Cancer, Cardiovascular Health, Diabetes, Training
We travelled to Boise, Idaho on March 10th, 2016, joining forces with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) on a new academic detailing initiative. On March 11th, we facilitated a 1-day workshop for 14 active academic detailers working on two public health priorities: promoting diabetes screening and management tools as part of their Diabetes, Heart Disease, & Stroke Program, and increasing colorectal cancer screening across the state as part of IDHW’s Comprehensive Cancer Control program.
The session emphasized the importance of determining strong, specific, and actionable key messages, and helped the academic detailers practice delivering those messages clearly. Exercises in small groups focused on preparing for the inevitable obstacles that arise during a visit, anticipating different types of pushback or questions, and developing strategies for effective responses. Using roleplay, workshop participants practiced conveying their program’s goals in a dynamic, clear, and interactive way while continuously assessing the clinician’s specific needs.
We’re looking forward to reporting back on the successes and growth of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s academic detailing programming to improve health outcomes by increasing colorectal cancer screening and effective diabetes diagnosis, prevention, and management throughout the state. Interested in learning more about our trainings or workshops? Learn more here, or contact us and tell us about your program's needs.
Behind the Scenes with Dr. Doyle-Tadduni, NaRCAD Training Facilitator
Editor’s note: In this series, DETAILS asks Academic Detailing (AD) Techniques Training facilitators how they lead by example, challenge participants, and ensure that trainees are ready to go out into the field. Dr. Doyle-Tadduni focused on her insights and tips to success in providing excellent clinical education by building strong detailer-to-clinician relationships based on evidence, clarity, and “intrinsic trust.”
Tags: Cardiovascular Health, Detailing Visits, Expert Trainer Insight Series, Training
NaRCAD: Hi, Mary Liz! We’re looking forward to learning more from you about what it’s like to train prospective academic detailers. But first, tell us a little about how you became involved in detailing.
Dr. Doyle-Tadduni: I began working as an academic detailer about 10 years ago in Pennsylvania with the Independent Drug Information Service, which is sponsored by PACE (Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly). My clinical background in nursing and my teaching background within various university settings has served me well in this role as a clinical educator.
NaRCAD: What does a day of academic detailing look like for you? What successes and challenges do you see?
Dr. Doyle-Tadduni: My territory encompasses the westerns suburbs of Philadelphia where I visit physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. I see these providers in a variety of settings, including private practices, university-affiliated practices, and outpatient health care systems.
Since AD is a new concept to many practitioners, it’s essential to start your visit by educating providers about the importance of academic detailing and how it will benefit them and their patients. In this way, I’ve developed many long-standing relationships with providers who have said that AD has been very beneficial for their individual practices. It’s very gratifying in a follow-up appointment to hear that a provider has taken the evidence you provided and put it into practice, creating a positive outcome for patients.
NaRCAD: How do you build strong relationships with the clinicians you visit?
Dr. Doyle-Tadduni: There needs to be an intrinsic sense of trust between a detailer and the provider. You may not gain the trust in the relationship during your initial visits, but when you provide clinicians with a full understanding of the importance of your visit, along with presenting educational materials that are credible and evidence-based, you promote trust and strengthen the relationship and gain clinician commitment to changing behavior for the better.
NaRCAD: You’ve facilitated quite a few trainings with us at NaRCAD. Tell us more about the course, and why you enjoy doing it.
Dr. Doyle-Tadduni: This course is a great support for both new and seasoned trainees in enhancing their detailing skills, as well as program managers who oversee a clinical education program and need a greater understanding of how best to run an effective program. At the beginning of the training, the trainees absorb AD theoretical content and techniques, and on Day 2, they’re actively practicing the techniques and role playing different educational encounters in small groups.
The program trainees have been wonderful people to meet! I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from all over the United States, and some from Australia, Portugal, and Europe. It’s been very interesting being involved with the trainings and hearing about health care in other regions of the US and abroad. Despite the miles that separate all of us in our different demographics, we all have similar challenges in our respective health care systems.
NaRCAD: As a trainer, you “play” the role of the clinicians during breakout group sessions, presenting different personalities as well as various behavioral and content-based objections to the material or the visit. Tell us more about this part of the course.
Mary Liz practices with a trainee, teaching the importance of showcasing AD as a service that will create better outcomes for clinicians’ practices and patients.
Dr. Doyle-Tadduni: We present the trainees with many different role play scenarios where they can actively practice overcoming obstacles that get in the way of earning clinician commitment. Finding the right delivery of your messaging can be very challenging, depending on the environment, and every detailer will have a unique set of potential obstacles to face at each visit.
The key is to focus on the evidence, so that practitioners can realize how beneficial it will be to their practice. The training’s small group role play practice sessions provides trainees ample opportunity to practice, ask questions, perfect their skills, and be prepared to face inevitable obstacles in their own future visits.
NaRCAD: What do NaRCAD trainees need to have to be ready to succeed as a detailer? How does our 2-day training help to get them ready for success?
Dr. Doyle-Tadduni: The trainees need to have an expert knowledge base of the clinical topic and related materials they’ll be presenting during a visit. They also need to present AD as an on-going resource. With busy practitioners being so tightly scheduled through the day, programs designed to assist them in improving how their practice runs is a plus. By the end of the two days of training, the trainees will have a strong foundation of clinical education techniques, and they’ll be forming ideas about implementing these efforts in their respective programs.
NaRCAD: Any closing thoughts or advice for new trainees, or first time detailers as they prepare to head into the field?
As long as you’re well-versed on the material you’re delivering, and you’re presenting yourself as an “ambassador of the evidence”, you’ll have the tools you need to ensure that an academic detailing visit is truly successful.
Mike Fischer, MD, MS
Tags: Cardiovascular Health, Detailing Visits, Smoking Cessation, Training
At NaRCAD, we work together with our many partners, collaborating on important interventions to improve patient health through clinical outreach education. This summer, we’re especially looking forward to a unique collaboration to improve cardiovascular health, as we travel to Oklahoma to support the Healthy Hearts for Oklahoma project, part of AHRQ’s EvidenceNow initiative.
EvidenceNow is a group of 7 large studies across the United States working to improve cardiovascular care in small primary care practices. Along with materials development and program support, the NaRCAD team will travel to Oklahoma City in July to train over 20 health professionals, teaching them how to provide the service of academic detailing to participating practices. Focusing on the ‘ABCS’ (aspirin use, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation), the professionals we train will carry out academic detailing visits in order to present best evidence to participating practices.
By using the skills and techniques of AD to assess the needs of clinicians and practices throughout Oklahoma, the detailers we train will gain commitment from clinicians to commit to practice change. The Healthy Hearts for Oklahoma project will visit hundreds of practices, tracking these practices’ behaviors over time. Ultimately, the evidence generated by Healthy Hearts and the other EvidenceNow studies will yield key insights about how best to bring evidence to diverse practice settings and improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans.
Supporting organizations that are carrying out important work such as this is at the core of who we are and what we do. The positive impact of academic detailing can be amplified with each new intervention, program, or even a single visit to a clinician. As we enter into our 5th year as the only nationally available resource center for for academic detailing, the strength of the relationships we build makes it possible for clinical outreach education to serve more practices and have a greater impact on patient health.
We’ll share highlights from the Healthy Hearts for Oklahoma project and other exciting collaborations with our subscribers this fall. In the meantime, we’d love to see you at a future Boston-based training, or at our 3rd annual International Conference on Academic Detailing this fall—join us as we work together to advance the field of clinical outreach education.
An Interview with Paula Walker, Clinical Pharmacist
Baylor, Scott & White Health | Dallas, Texas
Tags: Cardiovascular Health, Chronic Illness, Detailing Visits, Elderly Care, Training
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into care redesign and transitional care? I grew up in the area of Inman Square Pharmacy in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After graduating from Northeastern University in 1990, I began my career in community pharmacy. Soon after I entered the pharmaceutical industry, I spent many years representing the biological division of Rhone-Poulenc. I continued to keep connected with public health by practicing in the community part time; I’ve also been serving in a family practice clinic for over 8 years now. Three years ago, upon recommendation from our clinic director, I joined The Institute of Chronic Disease and Care Redesign at Baylor Scott and White Health in Dallas.
Tell us about the institute. What does your team focus on with regards to providing transitional care? What approach do you take?
Our multidisciplinary team focuses on improving outcomes among chronically ill older adults. Our innovative approach includes using advanced technology to identify patients at most risk for readmission. With a focus on heart failure, COPD, and pneumonia, patients are identified and supported as they transition from one level of care to the next. Our transitional care team encourages each specialty to work at the very top of their license to assist patients whose recovery is complicated by cognitive impairment, frailty, and social issues. Our team shares offices together so each discipline is available to all team members at all times. A strong team and constant communication is the key to our success.
What does a typical day or week look like for you in this field? How do you incorporate academic detailing techniques into your work?
My role is to perform the medication reconciliation on all of my patients and communicate any concerns with the appropriate providers. I attend weekly rounding with my team and need to be able to make and support any medication recommendations. In terms of using academic detailing techniques, our team practices evidence-based medicine in the care and treatment of our population with chronic disease. It’s also key for a pharmacist in this role to be able to communicate to providers quickly and effectively regarding drug selection, dosage, and titration. Learning and practicing the skills required to communicate effectively in this environment is essential. In a typical day I will consult with a geriatric specialist, cardiology, nephrology, APRN, social worker, and corporate administration. That is a lot of communicating!
You attended our Academic Detailing Techniques Training a few years back. What parts of the program worked well for you, and what are the most useful resources or information that you’re still using today? I found the skills learned during the NaRCAD training to be useful and confidence building. There is an art to being able to research information then applying it to support a recommendation in a short amount of time. NaRCAD brings together professionals from different disciplines that are focused on improving the communication of science-based information in their practice or facility. It is useful to connect with others that require these skills in their work. The small class size made it very easy to meet all the participants and learn from their experiences. I believe you can never be too experienced, and I constantly learn from the experience of others.
What are some future successes you’re looking forward to in your work and in the field in general? As we prepare to expand the Transitional Care Model at Baylor Scott and White Health under the population health infrastructure, I look forward to the pharmacist’s role to expand as well. Our goal of disease management, well above the national standard, will require evidence based medicine and the sharing of clinical information to all members of the care team. I look forward to continuing my relationship with NaRCAD—together we can help each other transform care, resulting in an improvement in the quality of life for our patients. And I’m looking forward to NaRCAD’s 3rd International Conference on Academic Detailing this November in Boston!
Biography: Paula Walker, Clinical Pharmacist, joined the Baylor Scott & White Health Transitional Care Team in 2012. Paula is the team pharmacist and oversees all medication reconciliation for their older adult population with heart failure, COPD, and pneumonia. Prior to joining BSW, Paula has worked in community pharmacy, clinic pharmacy (still active), and the pharmaceutical industry. Paula holds BS in Pharmacy from Northeastern University.
by Joy Leotsakos, PharmD
Tags: Cardiovascular Health, Detailing Visits, Evaluation, Program Management, Training
Who We Are. The Academic Detailing Service (ADS) of the Atrius Health Clinical Pharmacy Program provides clinically appropriate, evidence-based, cost-effective medication management in a multidisciplinary team setting. Our Clinical Pharmacy Program includes 15 clinical pharmacists (CPs) serving nineteen Internal Medicine and Family Medicine (IM/FM) ambulatory care practice locations. In the past four years, our program has evolved and transformed through evaluating our impact, absorbing and implementing internal feedback, and collaborating with others in the field, including NaRCAD.
Our Start. As the program manager of our ADS, I’ve seen our service grow and change. When we began our program in 2011, it was as an administrative mandate to meet with all IM/FM prescribers once per fiscal quarter to deliver messages about cost-effective prescribing and clinical quality. We started by formulating a menu of topics to cover in our ADS work each quarter, including individual clinician prescribing reports reflecting performance on prescribing initiatives from the Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee, specific questions to survey clinicians on a clinical topic, targeted education for low performers on prescribing initiatives, and various other ‘hot topic’ clinical issues. CPs detailed individual clinicians via formal 1:1 scheduled appointments, and also did so less formally (such as by catching them in the hallways) or in larger groups during department meetings.
Is it Working? We documented our ADS activities by checking off the individual clinicians we detailed each quarter. At that time, there was no formal training for our CPs on how to conduct a detailing meeting. Unfortunately, this method of creating content for visits soon resulted in a large menu of topics so varied that each quarter’s detailing became unwieldy and too broadly focused. And our documentation, while it gave us a general sense of the number of clinicians detailed, did not tell us anything about the quality of this detailing.
Room for Improvement. Our group is fortunate in that our ADS activities have always been accepted and even expected by our IM/FM clinicians. We experienced almost no clinician resistance to our educational meetings. But in 2013, when attending one of NaRCAD’s 2-day Academic Detailing Training sessions, I learned that we could make changes to improve our services, as well as my own skills as a detailer. As a result, we altered the format of our ADS program, choosing to detail clinicians in a 1-1 or small group format of less than 4. We also selected a goal of 90% of clinicians receiving detailing at least once every quarter.
Evaluating Impact. We began evaluating the impact of the changes we’d made to our ADS, specifically choosing to look at its impact on a discretely measurable topic: reducing the unnecessary ordering of an ALT test (alanine transaminase) in patients on the ’statin’ cholesterol-lowering medications. We were able to demonstrate that our detailing of all IM/FM clinicians led to significant reductions in ALT ordering and meaningful cost avoidance for our organization.
Asking for Feedback. With NaRCAD’s support, we further refined our program in 2014 based upon feedback from an internal focus group. By soliciting honest feedback from the CPs about their detailing experiences, I discovered considerable variation in how they approached the menu of topics provided each quarter and came to understand that the continuous process of visiting with each clinician at their sites often felt stale and repetitive.
New Approach, New Results. We revised our ADS workflow to tie each round of clinician appointments directly to a specific and single P&T prescribing initiative. Furthermore, we developed a method to tag low performing clinicians for an ‘intense’ ADS visit and higher performers for a ‘touch’ ADS visit. We began this new workflow with an initiative to improve the use of evidence-based beta-blockers in patients with heart failure, a quality measure for the Medicare Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) project. Using this new approach, clinical pharmacists were able to deliver a fresh and meaningful message to the right prescribers, resulting in a change from 73.6% to 97.8%prescribing of evidence-based beta-blockers in this patient population.
Partnering with NaRCAD for Ongoing Learning. In March 2015, we coordinated with NaRCAD again, and they provided our group of clinical pharmacists with a 2.5 hour workshop to enhance our AD skills. I’d encourage anyone who does this type of educational outreach to make use of this invaluable resource. Of course, our Atrius Health Academic Detailing Service will continue to grow and change as we find additional ways to improve our workflows and messages. I look forward to continued collaboration with NaRCAD and with others in the field, so that we can all keep learning from each other and improve health outcomes through effective academic detailing.
Bio: Joy Leotsakos is a senior clinical pharmacist and the program manager for the Academic Detailing Service (ADS) of the Atrius Health Clinical Pharmacy Program. Joy joined Atrius Health in 2007 and became the program manager for the ADS program in 2012. Prior to joining Atrius Health, Joy worked as an assistant professor at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University in Boston, MA and provided ambulatory care pharmacy services to the South End Community Health Center also in Boston. Joy graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy and then completed her residency in Ambulatory Care and Community Pharmacy at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. Joy is the mother of one son, and enjoys salsa dancing, cycling and running in the summer and skiing in the winter. You can reach Joy by email at email@example.com.
Highlighting Best Practices
We highlight what's working in clinical education through interviews, features, event recaps, and guest blogs, offering clinical educators the chance to share successes and lessons learned from around the country & beyond.