An interview with Vishal Kinkhabwala, MD, MPH, HIV Prevention Activities Coordinator, HIV Prevention Unit, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The overarching goal of the HIV Prevention Unit is to expand access to PrEP for patients throughout the state of Michigan.
by Anna Morgan, MPH, RN, PMP, NaRCAD Program Manager
Tags: Conference, Detailing Visits, E-Detailing, HIV/AIDS, PrEP
Anna: We’re so happy to be catching up with you today, Vishal! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the work of academic detailing?
Vishal: My background is in both public health and medicine. After finishing medical school, I realized that as much as I loved the clinical aspect, I wanted something that combined both my passions of public health and clinical medicine. My first job after graduating was in New York where I linked newly-diagnosed HIV patients into care. About a year later, I found an opportunity at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that fit with what I ultimately wanted to do, HIV prevention.
My current work is focused on ending the HIV epidemic in Wayne County. One of my favorite parts of my job is detailing, which I do part-time. Our program officially began detailing in September of 2019. We’re in the process of making the jump to e-Detailing, but we’re still in the planning stages.
Anna: Before we chat about how you and your team have been preparing for e-Detailing, let’s talk about how clinicians in Michigan have received your messages around PrEP. Were clinicians receptive to your detailing efforts when you were conducting in-person visits?
Vishal: Most clinicians that we detailed were either already familiar with PrEP or had that enthusiasm to learn about it. Many of the clinicians were excited about helping with MDHHS’s overall goal of increasing patient access to PrEP and talking about the associated HIV prevention counseling.
Clinicians were typically familiar with PrEP but weren’t aware of the nitty-gritty details of how to prescribe and manage it. A big part of what we discussed during our detailing visits was identifying which patients are candidates for PrEP. Our program’s purpose is to increase access, even if it’s just for one or two patients.
Anna: It’s wonderful that the clinicians you’ve detailed have been supportive of your program’s goals. Transitioning to e-Detailing will certainly be easier knowing that you have support from clinicians. What have you learned so far from planning for e-Detailing?
Vishal: It’s been fun prepping for e-Detailing with our team. The big thing I’ve learned through networking with detailers from other jurisdictions is to be flexible and be prepared for any situation, especially in the virtual environment. You might have one idea of how your session will go, and it could go in the opposite direction, which is part of the charm of detailing. It’s about forming a connection and tailoring your methods to what the clinicians' and practices' needs are. I’m a relationship-oriented person, and I feel like that’s one of the most rewarding parts of doing this.
One of the things that also excites me about virtual education is the access to information right at your fingertips. For example, I was detailing a clinician about PrEP and HIV prevention last year who asked me, "Well, I have this issue with a lot of patients with STDs. Can you talk to me about STD treatments?" It was an in-person visit, so I only had the materials that I had brought with me, which were all focused on HIV.
The beauty of doing e-Detailing is that you can have resources pulled up and can get the information for the clinician almost instantaneously. As I said earlier, detailing is all about having that relationship, meeting the clinician where they're at, and serving their needs. Virtual education gives you another tool to be able to do just that.
Anna: What a positive spin on e-Detailing! Speaking of sustainability, that’s the theme for our upcoming conference. You attended our conference last year in Boston and will be presenting at our virtual conference this year. What were some key takeaways from last year’s conference that you were able to bring back to your program and implement?
Vishal: Last year’s conference was my first exposure to NaRCAD and the world of detailing- it was honestly one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. It was great to be exposed to e-Detailing through the virtual detailing panel before it was even brought to the forefront during COVID.
Because I was hired a few months prior to the conference, I had not attended a training yet. I joined the “AD 101” breakout group, which was supremely helpful. When I got home, I did mock detailing sessions with my colleague and reviewed all the resources on the NaRCAD website. I also practiced detailing on the stress balls I have in my office!
Anna: It’s so nice to hear how impactful the conference was for you as a new detailer. We strive to include a diverse audience of new and veteran detailers each year. What are you looking forward to most about this year’s conference?
Vishal: There are so many absolute rock stars in the field of detailing. I’m looking forward to getting to see familiar faces and meet new faces over the virtual platform. I’m excited for the exchange of ideas, programs, and concepts. So many people have given me ideas for our program in Michigan.
It’s such a good feeling when I can say that not only have I received help from others, but that I’m able to inspire other people. It’s also comforting to know that this is such a passionate group of people that no matter the adverse situation, the work continues getting done. I’m counting down the days until the conference in November!
Have thoughts on our DETAILS Blog posts?
You can head on over to our Discussion Forum to continue the conversation!
Biography. Vishal has been working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services since August 2019 as the HIV Prevention Activities Coordinator. His work focus is on program planning and implementation for the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative, focused on southeastern Michigan. As part of this initiative, he works as a part-time Academic Detailer with a focus on HIV Prevention with the overarching goal of increasing access to PrEP throughout the state of Michigan. He completed his Master of Public Health degree from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL in August 2013 and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Avalon University School of Medicine in Willemstad, Curacao in June 2018. Prior to working for the State of Michigan, Vishal worked for the New York State Department of Health as a Disease Intervention Specialist, working on a pilot HIV Molecular Clusters initiative. Vishal is particularly looking forward to moving the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services PrEP Detailing program forward into the realm of virtual “eDetailing.”
An interview with Kristefer Stojanovski, MPH, PhD(c), Public Health Researcher and Evaluation Specialist, Capacity Building Assistance Program, San Francisco Department of Public Health
by Anna Morgan, RN, BSN, MPH, NaRCAD Program Manager
Tags: Data, Evaluation, HIV/AIDS, PrEP, Sexual Health
NaRCAD: Hi, Kristefer! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. Can you tell us a bit about your background and the work you’re currently doing as it relates to academic detailing?
Kristefer: Thanks for having me. I’m a public health researcher and an evaluation specialist with the Capacity Building Assistance Program at San Francisco Department of Public Health. I serve as a specialist and a technical assistance provider for the West region of the United States. My work is focused on data and evaluation of academic detailing programs that are working on topics like sexual health, HIV, and PrEP. My main goal is to help folks measure, or think about, what “success” may look like for an academic detailing program.
NaRCAD: What data do you think is most important for academic detailers to track during their visits when measuring or thinking about success?
Kristefer: I see evaluation data and detailing efforts as one complete package. Detailers should think about their data at a high level and focus on the information they’re collecting and how that information serves the overall goal of detailing, which is to improve knowledge, attitudes, intentions, and behaviors of providers and clinics.
At the same time, detailers should think about how they can show that they’re achieving that goal. For example, it’s useful to track how many providers they’ve seen, how much time was spent with providers, what they talked about during the visit, the resources that were provided, how the providers plan to use those resources, if a follow-up visit was scheduled, and the purpose of that follow-up visit. It’s important to track a mix of quantitative and qualitative data, but the critical components that should be tracked are the outcomes and the process of detailing.
NaRCAD: What about academic detailing programs? What data should they collect?
Kristefer: In a typical detailing program, detailers have a longitudinal, continuous outreach to providers. There’s an interesting conversation to be had about how we can use that temporal matrix as a tool and strategy for evaluation. I’m interested in how we can use the work academic detailers are doing – the actual visits themselves - as pieces of data over time.
For example, if detailers are collecting some of the rich conversation that they’re having with providers or clinics, it’s fascinating to track those conversations over time and see how the detailing program is changing the knowledge, attitudes, intentions, and behaviors of those providers and clinics. There’s a lot of work that detailers are already doing that can be easily turned into data sources for both the detailing effort and the evaluation effort. I like to think about how we can make things as simple as possible.
NaRCAD: Is there a specific platform that makes things simple and is best for collecting data for academic detailers and programs?
Kristefer: That certainly becomes a little bit more individualistic when thinking about the needs, challenges, and abilities of each jurisdiction. Detailing is a conversational effort that is attempting to make concrete behavior change, so it becomes more convoluted when you think about how to track a conversation. Some jurisdictions might have a place to track conversations in their electronic health record, where others may not.
At the most basic level, detailers can chart their conversations on one-page Word documents. The detailers I worked with charted their conversations with providers over time and eventually put it in one large PDF that could be easily uploaded into a qualitative data analysis software. You have to be creative when it comes to tracking this information.
NaRCAD: How would you recommend that programs with limited resources go about data collection and evaluation?
Kristefer: A lot of times we say we want to have high-tech solutions when we don’t actually need them. For a resource constrained department, having that one-page Word document that allows detailers to chart their interactions is more than enough data. Charting for just five minutes after a detailing visit about everything that took place becomes a wealth of information. You can also use an Excel document to input data from provider surveys.
There are many low-tech ways to track information and it’s important to be aware of the low hanging fruit in terms of data collection. You want to be able to easily collect data that serves the detailing efforts, the program, and the evaluation and improvement process.
NaRCAD: That’s a great way to look at it. What are some best practices for using data for leadership buy-in?
Kristefer: I can’t stress enough how important data is in getting leadership buy-in. Data is not only quantitative and qualitative, but also using the information gathered to tell a story. It would be a strong statement if someone was able to go to leadership with a story about how providers have changed their practices based on the detailing effort. Using concrete results and showing leadership that detailing is making a change is extremely helpful for buy-in.
Being able to show crazy big outcomes with your data won’t happen, but sharing stories from providers and clinics about how detailing has helped them is quite moving. I’ve heard some amazing stories during my evaluation. For example, detailers helped providers at some clinics to provide patients with directly observed therapy for PrEP at the same time that they were providing them with medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. It’s impressive that detailing at those sites was able to make the clinics think creatively and be able to provide PrEP to these patients.
NaRCAD: That certainly is impressive! What has surprised you the most about the academic detailing data you’ve evaluated?
Kristefer: I can’t help but to think that pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars and resources on this model and they certainly wouldn’t have been doing this for decades if it didn’t work. We’re almost a little late to the game as public health practitioners, but through my experience evaluating some of this work and reading other evaluations, I’ve been shocked by how much providers truly value detailers.
It’s fascinating to see how these health systems and departments are viewed as trusted partners by providers and clinics and how detailing has served as a role to improve that partnership and collaboration. Providers have often said how crucial this information has been in getting access to Department of Public Health resources they didn’t even know existed, which is pretty sad. Seeing public health and the medical system working side by side in this kind of way has been breathtaking.
Kristefer Stojanovski is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Health Behavior & Health Education, School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. Kristefer has been doing community-based mixed methods research since 2010. His research explores the social and structural determinants to sexual health and HIV outcomes among key populations in the U.S. and in Southeastern Europe. Kristefer’s work interrogates how stigma drives HIV risk and infection using complex systems theory, structural equation, agent-based and multilevel modeling. Kristefer also translates his research into policy and decision-making. He is an evaluation specialist with the Capacity Building Assistance program with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
An interview with Brandon Mizroch, MD, MBBS, Provider Network Supervisor, Louisiana Department of Health
by Anna Morgan, RN, BSN, MPH, NaRCAD Program Manager
Tags: Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, PrEP, Rural AD Programs, Sexual Health, Stigma, Training
NaRCAD: Thanks for chatting with us today, Brandon! We’re excited to be catching up with you. Can you tell us about your program at the Louisiana Department of Health and the work you’re currently doing?
Brandon: Absolutely. I was hired to do work around PrEP and PEP, detailing providers across the state of Louisiana, in 2017. Since then, my role has expanded and I promote education for providers about syphilis, congenital syphilis, and Hepatitis C. Our department now has 3 detailers, including myself.
Louisiana became the first state in the country to undergo an incredibly revolutionary Hepatitis C Elimination Plan, which has caused my detailing focus to shift. There’s been huge advancements in the drugs that treat Hepatitis C, but they’ve been inaccessible to much of the population due to cost. We negotiated a fixed rate price for Hepatitis C treatment and can now treat 100% of the population, compared to the 3% of the population we could treat previously. There’s been a big push to identify and train providers who’ve never previously treated patients with Hepatitis C. I’ve been leading the charge by getting the word out, running symposiums, and working with the marketing team that’s creating our statewide campaign.
NaRCAD: Wow, that sounds like innovative and exciting work. Can you explain your program’s approach a bit more?
Brandon: I try to blend a few different approaches together. I attended the NaRCAD training during my first year as a detailer. NaRCAD built the foundation of detailing for me. I always use the NaRCAD methodology to get my foot in the door and identify providers who can be champions within their practices. I find it much easier to follow up and do longer didactic sessions about complex clinical topics when I use the techniques of academic detailing during my first face-to-face visits with providers.
I connect with about 20 providers in this 1:1 model each month. I also work with residency programs, hospital systems, and present at Grand Rounds to expand my reach. There’ve even been instances where I’ve attended dinners for physicians that are hosted by pharmaceutical companies to network and identify new clinics that would benefit from detailing.
NaRCAD: We’re happy to see that you’re blending academic detailing with other approaches. Do you provide follow-up to providers after your visits?
Brandon: Follow-up is incredibly important, no matter what approach is being used. I like to send an email after each visit that includes digital resources for both providers and patients. I also offer providers the ability to call, text, or email me because of the apprehension that exists around topics where the knowledge base is still growing. Maintaining relationships with providers also ensures that we have a strong provider network that we can continue to educate on other clinical topics down the road.
NaRCAD: Building a connection with providers is imperative, especially as you move into different clinical topics. Your program spans the entire state. Do you find that there’s a difference when you provide clinical outreach education in rural vs. urban communities?
Brandon: Yes, there’s certainly a difference. The providers in urban areas tend to have a higher knowledge base when it comes to PrEP and syphilis, perhaps due to marketing efforts or higher patient loads. This makes starting the conversation a bit easier. Additionally, urban communities have access to navigators, who help with non-medical aspects, like transportation issues, lack of health insurance, and long commute times that all prevent folks from getting the treatment they need. Providers in urban areas are also busier and easily distracted during 1:1 visits, which can make detailing a bit difficult.
On the other hand, rural communities are quite the opposite. Providers tend to have more time in their schedules and are excited to sit down with somebody from the state office. They’re eager to learn, but there’s typically less of a knowledge base, making it slightly more difficult to start the conversation.
I’ve also learned about patient barriers as well, which affect access and provider care. Patients in rural areas are often friends or family with those throughout the community, including those who work at clinics. The notion that you would know the receptionist or provider at a clinic is enough to deter folks from seeking medical care around a topic like sexual health. To encourage access, our state has created a TelePrEP program that offers PrEP services to anyone via telemedicine. Consultations take place over the phone, labs are obtained at third party lab companies, and medications are mailed right to the front doors of patients. It was originally created to help folks in rural communities who face stigma-related barriers, but we’ve expanded the program across the entire state of Louisiana. It’s a great referral service that I can share with providers.
NaRCAD: It’s wonderful that you’re able to identify these challenges and have resources and tools to address them. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to folks who are detailing on a similar clinical topic or have a large geographical region to cover?
Brandon: It’s important to have several different ways of presenting information to the providers you’re detailing and to use varied approaches depending on the barrier(s) they’re facing. I typically focus on emotional connection, financial concerns, and the evidence and science behind the key messages I’m delivering. I’m also ready for provider resistance, and am prepared to address it, which is something I learned from NaRCAD.
When it comes to detailing over a large and diverse geography, it’s always necessary to plan ahead. My general rule of thumb is that however many hours it takes to drive to a location, that’s how many providers I want to meet with while I’m there. I typically try to use larger educational events, like meetings with clinics over lunch, as my anchor point for longer trips. After I have that scheduled, I search for smaller clinics around the area where I can meet with providers 1:1. It’s all about maximizing your time.
Brandon Mizroch received his MD/MBBS from the University of Queensland/Ochsner Clinical School Program in November of 2016. Since taking over as the PEP/PrEP Provider Outreach Specialist at the Louisiana Department of Health in August, 2017, he has worked with hundreds of doctors statewide on HIV prevention best practice. Since then he has expanded his educational base and now serves as the head of the academic detailing department at the Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Public Health, STD/HIV/Hepatitis program. As the Provider Network Supervisor he has helped lead the provider Outreach for the state’s first-in-the-nation Hepatitis C Elimination program. From grand rounds presentations at LSU-Shreveport Hospital and Baton Rouge General, to state-wide symposia and conferences, to one-on-one counseling encounters at dozens of clinics all over Louisiana, he has helped spread awareness and education on HIV prevention, syphilis screening and treatment, and HCV screening and treatment through evidence-based care.
'Guest Blog | Alyson Decker, NP, MPH | San Francisco Department of Public Health
Tags: Detailing Visits, HIV/AIDS, PrEP, Sexual Health
Our AD program is part of a 3-year demonstration project (CDC Project PrIDE), and as part of our grant-funded work our overarching goal is increasing PrEP access and prescribing to MSM (men who have sex with men) of color and transgender persons who are at substantial risk of acquiring HIV. Our goals include improving sexual health in the primary care setting, refining sexual health history-taking, increasing screening and testing for those with risks, promoting best practices around PrEP prescribing, and helping to establish relationships between our health department and our community providers.
The added benefit of public health detailing is that it also increases awareness about the issues that affect our community. I have been inviting clinicians that I meet to join us in our city-wide Getting to Zero consortium, which helps providers feel that they are part of this important movement of preventing HIV transmissions, deaths, and stigma.
In San Francisco, there is a need for urgency around this issue, especially because it’s become evident that as HIV transmissions continue to decrease, the disparities among new HIV positive diagnoses become more apparent. Many of these disparities are among communities who still may not be aware of PrEP, or are facing barriers to access. Our academic detailing program strives to reach the providers who work with these vulnerable communities.
When kicking off an intervention such as this, identifying the clinicians who see this target population is the first step. To do this, we used STD surveillance data to determine which providers and clinics were diagnosing syphilis and rectal gonorrhea and chlamydia, which are associated with an increased risk for HIV. However, since many providers are not performing appropriate screenings, we also reached out to clinics known to serve our priority population and those located in neighborhoods with the highest HIV incidences.
The next step is how to “get in the door” with these clinicians, which means finding a way to secure a 1:1 visit. I’ve found that initial non-responsiveness isn’t the end of the world—persistence pays off, so keep trying to get in the door, or find an entry point through other community contacts. Sometimes, choosing a different access point can really work well to start a relationship. There are many places where 1:1 visits aren’t feasible due to clinic structure or culture. If I’m able to detail to a small group, it can be a way to meet with a few providers and gain insight about how PrEP might be incorporated or enhanced in their setting.
Being invited to an all-staff meeting is often an excellent way to kick off an introduction to this important intervention, and can result in follow-up conversations with individual clinicians. One benefit of meeting in small groups is that if a clinician hears a fellow clinician say that he or she is already prescribing PrEP, there may be more openness to discussing the topic; other providers might feel comforted in having a PrEP "ally", resulting in buy-in from the clinic overall.
Some clinicians may think that this type of intervention isn’t relevant to their patient population; as I detailer, I often hear responses such as, “I don’t see this population reflected in my practice,” or “My patients don’t have this risk,”, even if it’s been proven that these clinics do, indeed, serve priority populations. In order to talk about PrEP, you first have to talk about risks for HIV, which often means talking about sex. I think there can be discomfort on both the patient and provider side, and sex is often still a stigmatized topic. There are also overarching resource barriers, including the fact that clinicians are extremely busy and have to address competing health needs in the primary care setting.
While a small pool of clinicians have minimal understanding of PrEP, and require a basic overview about elements like identifying potential PrEP candidates, how to take a good sexual history, and how to bring up PrEP in an appointment, I’ve found that many clinicians are aware to some extent about PrEP already, and are interested in next-level details about how to implement it. This might include what kind of testing is recommended, how to increase number of basic screens, and increasing their knowledge about comprehensive health.
There are also providers who are very advanced in their knowledge of what options are available to populations with risks for HIV. This is where the academic detailing becomes more intricate; some providers are seeing lots of patients with risk factors, and may have been prescribing PrEP already. In a scenario such as this, my messaging focuses more on how to support clinicians in ensuring consistent follow-up with their patients, or in how to deal with multiple risk factors, such as when high-risk sexual behavior may overlap with instances of substance use or homelessness.
For those who are just getting started, it may help to know that even after meeting with 300 providers, I still get nervous each time I prepare to detail, especially if I’m unfamiliar with a practice. Regardless of the nature of my visits, I walk away feeling that I’ve accomplished something if I’ve answered only one question that’s helped the clinician with his or her practice. And I’ve found that in most cases, the people I meet with are very thankful for this service, and are appreciative of the health department. I always thank providers for the work they do and remind them what an important role they have in the community.
Biography. Alyson Decker, NP, MPH
Alyson Decker is a Clinical Prevention Consultant and nurse practitioner with Disease Prevention & Control at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. As the branch’s lead academic detailer, she helped develop San Francisco’s first HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) detailing program. Her role consists of detailing with community providers to increase PrEP prescribing in the primary care setting and promote best prescribing practices. In addition, she provides training assistance to healthcare providers and frontline staff around improving sexual healthcare and STD testing and treatment. She also sees patients at the municipal sexual health clinic, San Francisco City Clinic.
Mike Fischer, MD, MS, NaRCAD Director
Tags: Conference, Director's Letter, HIV/AIDS, Jerry Avorn, Opioid Safety, PrEP, Training
Fall is the season for conferences, and the most exciting one for us is #NaRCAD2017: Combatting Threats to Optimal Care!
This year’s conference is a great chance for everyone interested in AD to learn more, whether you’re part of a long-standing program or just beginning to learn about the versatility and effectiveness of implementing this strategy to improve health outcomes. Our agenda is up, so take a peek, and register if you haven’t yet!
The keynote presentations will provide critical insights for creating and sustaining AD programs in different settings. Dr. Zoe Edelstein will kick off Day 1’s programming, representing the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This keynote will teach us about their public health detailing intervention to increase use of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The New York program was originally founded in 2002, so Dr. Edelstein’s presentation will help anyone from a public health background understand how to both develop and sustain AD, and to adapt it for new and pressing health challenges.
Dr. Carol Havens from Kaiser Permanente will provide a detailed overview of the longest-running AD program in the US, a program that was developed with input from Jerry Avorn soon after the original AD studies were published.
We look forward to being inspired by lessons learned from a leading integrated health care system’s ongoing commitment to improving the quality of care around opioid safety with clinical outreach education.
The rest of our conference agenda draws almost entirely from proposals submitted by members of our NaRCAD network – we received twice as many proposals this year!
We’re looking forward to our “Field Presentations” sessions, featuring empiric results from detailers on the ground; expert panelists from the CDC, state departments of public health, and clinical care sharing important impressions on clinician stigma on the critical issues of HIV prevention and opioid safety; and breakout sessions covering many of the practical issues and challenges that detailers face when bringing best evidence to clinicians. Of course, for many of us, the highlight of each conference is the annual update from Jerry Avorn on the state of AD--see his recent blog piece, “Who Do You Trust?” for a preview of what’s to come!
The NaRCAD team is excited by the knowledge that integral opportunities, connections, and partnerships will be created at our unique 2-day event. But as excited as our team and our extended community may be about the conference, it’s not the only terrific development underway at NaRCAD this fall. We’ve continued to provide training and support for groups from around the country and the globe, with 2 trainings in the techniques of AD this past September, and more planned this fall and winter! Keep your eyes on our Training Series page for the official announcement of our Spring 2018 AD techniques training, and contact us at any time about opportunities and resources to support your AD program.
See you soon,
Biography. Michael Fischer, MD, MS, NaRCAD Director
Dr. Fischer is a general internist, pharmacoepidemiologist, and health services researcher. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard and a clinically active primary care physician and educator at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. With extensive experience in designing and evaluating interventions to improve medication use, he has published numerous studies demonstrating potential gains from improved prescribing. Read more.
Guest Blogger: Deborah Monaghan, MD
Public Health/Academic Detailer
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
NaRCAD Training Alumnus
As the first and only detailer hired by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which serves 5.6 million people (about 3 million of which cluster around one metro area), the idea of building a detailing program from the ground up was incredibly exciting…and daunting. From the outset, it was important to determine the place of detailing within the community and establish its fit in the department’s mission.
Shortly after joining the team, I presented the intended scope of my work at a department meeting--and it generated tremendous interest in the use of academic detailing for public health initiatives far beyond the current planned intervention. This served to solidify the potential value of clinical education outreach to leadership throughout the department. Lessons learned are continually surfacing as we move into year two, and a few key concepts are worth sharing.
Particularly in the early stages of program establishment, it was essential to stretch resources and leverage partnerships. NaRCAD connections with other detailing programs facilitated the exchange of print resources, protocols and lessons learned, saving valuable development time.
Through CDC-funded capacity building visits, I shadowed detailing teams at two other health departments' AD programs (San Francisco Department of Public Health and the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene), which provided a framework for our own program’s function.
At every opportunity, I presented our detailing goals to community partners and stakeholders, resulting in many connections to medical providers, which, in turn, generated most of our initial provider visits. Submitting articles for local clinical practice newsletters and magazines also established recognition and trust in the state’s new detailing initiatives.
Once provider-facing detailing visits began, two things became quite clear:
Providers crave connection to their public health department.
Providers want regional data.
In a state with both urban and rural/frontier areas, urban clinicians wanted to be seen as “boots on the ground” to impact large populations by treating their own patients, while rural providers wanted to be acknowledged as part of the team and directed to resources they could access remotely. All clinicians, both urban and rural, wanted the latest disease and health data for their county, zip code, and even census tract level to compare to the rest of the state.
It has taken multiple attempts to get in the door in many practices. However, after a detailing visit, most providers are outspoken that they found the session worthwhile, and we've used this opportunity to ask for referrals to other providers who might be open to visits. The time investment has also enabled two-way communication allowing us to get a “finger on the pulse” of regional health and disease, particularly in the more rural areas.
The initial time invested to establish relationships with providers was high, but the rate of return has justified the investment. With a new detailing program, the responsibility falls to the detailer to establish credibility, both in resources provided as well as in value for time spent.
If I were starting a detailing program again, or could support new programs who were just getting started, I would love to be armed with these lessons learned:
Establish as many protocols, procedures and resources as possible.
Just start! Even if every detail isn’t in place, start visiting with providers. (The steep learning curve of on-the-ground visits is incredibly valuable and will continue to shape and improve your methods.)
Document everything! As methods change and processes improve, document what is changing and why. Document with the goal of sharing not simply a starting point and a finished product but an entire story.
Be willing to adjust in real time. Providers will have varying needs from one to another and from one day to the next, and our flexibility will ultimately strengthen the relationships we are trying to build, allowing academic detailing to have the greatest possible impact.
Deborah Monaghan, MD
Public Health/Academic Detailer, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Deborah joined CDPHE in 2016 as the Department’s first detailer and currently provides clinical outreach on HIV prevention and sexual health. A graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, internship took Deborah to Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania followed by residency at St Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado. She will complete her MSPH through the University of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2018. Initial response from the provider community receiving detailing has been overwhelmingly positive, and Deborah hopes to facilitate expansion of detailing efforts into other branches of public health to impact more Coloradans.
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.