Director's Letter | Mike Fischer, MD, MS
The entire health care system is grappling with uncertainty. What will happen to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act? Will clinicians and health systems face major changes in how they are expected to provide care and how they are reimbursed? Will state and local public health agencies have support for the many initiatives undertaken in recent years?
As we wait for answers to these questions, the role of academic detailing is more important than ever. AD programs will face new challenges, and will need to understand how AD can be adapted to fit changing constraints and still have a beneficial impact on clinician engagement, the quality of care, and patient outcomes. At NaRCAD, we look at this unpredictable environment and see a mandate to collaborate and innovate, working with our partners to develop and evaluate novel ways to implement AD.
At NaRCAD, we look at this unpredictable environment and see a mandate to collaborate and innovate.
Planning for NaRCAD2017, our annual conference, is well underway, and the call for proposals is open. Submit results of your current work or your ideas for panels and breakout sessions that will let you share your work and inspire colleagues.
To keep AD growing and thriving requires an active pipeline of newly trained detailers, which we have just added to with our recent AD Techniques Training on March 30 & 31, 2017.
This spring’s training class came to Boston to learn the techniques of academic detailing in order to support important interventions, including better use of smoking cessation treatment for patients with serious mental illness, increasing HPV vaccination rates, enhanced safety of opioid prescribing, and improving the care of chronic diseases such as COPD, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, heart failure, and kidney disease.
Our trainees hailed from Canada, Brazil, and around the U.S., including South Carolina, Rhode Island, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, Texas, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Colorado, bringing their unique experiences and backgrounds to 2 days filled with hands-on learning opportunities. Stay tuned for upcoming details about our Fall 2017 training, to be held this September--dates announced soon!
What continues to motivate us during times of uncertainty is working with the NaRCAD community, and we want 2017 to continue to be a year of even deeper engagement. Submit to the 2017 conference, share your ideas, suggestions, and comments on our blog, or reach out to us directly. We’re excited to continue to support your work and to build new collaborations--tell us what you need as part of our community of clinical outreach educators. -Mike
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.
NaRCAD's Interview Series: Public Health Detailing Program at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)
Featuring Michelle Dresser, MPH, Senior Manager, Programming & Strategy
Thanks for taking the time to share the great clinical outreach education work that’s being done by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Michelle! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in public health, specifically public health detailing.
Michelle: Thank you for the opportunity to speak about the Public Health Detailing Program. I have over 20 years of public health experience in both the non-profit and government setting, with the last 12 here at the New York City DOHMH. Throughout my professional career, my specialty has been in healthcare marketing and provider education, emphasizing how providers and consumers can better communicate with each other by tailoring complex messages using health literacy principles.
It’s essential our reps have excellent selling and communications skills, so when they engage providers and get their buy-in, providers are then equipped to get their patients “on board”. One-on-one provider engagement helps them understand how important it is to have a 2-way communication with patients.
How can an outreach representative encourage providers to “get on board” and think about care as a dialogue?
Michelle: Let’s use obesity as an example. With obesity, both providers and patients are frustrated, for different reasons. Providers may be frustrated that patients’ comorbid conditions are being exacerbated or don’t have the same kinds of tools to treat obesity as they do other conditions; patients might feel that providers aren’t using great communication techniques, like motivational interviewing (MI), to help them set goals and take small steps towards the goal.
If a patient is only told, “You need to lose weight,” which is such a broad and overarching goal, they’ll be frustrated, and frankly, non-adherent. I know I would be.
Encouraging providers to have specific dialogues using a customized approach for each patient is important. This kind of dialogue takes into account patients’ literacy beyond the written and spoken word—it looks at scientific, fundamental, health and cultural literacy, too.
We work on “coaching scripts”, which take the key recommendations and reframes them in order to custom-tailor the conversation for each patient.
One thing that’s unique about public health detailing is that we detail the whole team through one-on-one interactions. Evidence shows these types of interactions with providers and staff are more effective at changing behavior; however, sometimes due to the makeup of the practice we must conduct group presentations. It’s not ideal, but it still allows us to get the messages and materials out there.
So when an outreach representative goes into an office, they detail...everyone?
Michelle: If there are 15 people who work in an office, we’re going to detail all 15 of them. It’s a lot! Sometimes, the person who is the champion of a new behavior or workflow isn’t going to be the provider. We see the front desk staff as instrumental; they’re interacting with all of the patients. We work with our teams to ensure even the front desk staff receives the materials and information, rather than seeing them merely as a “gatekeeper” to get to the providers.
Sounds like a lot of training goes into preparing for your campaigns, and for thinking about the entire process of effective outreach. Tell us more about your trainings, and about how you prepare outreach representatives on disease content training, as well as in marketing and communications skills.
Michelle: On average, our trainings are about 5 days in length and take place the week prior to launching a new campaign. About 40 percent of the training is disease content, so we work with our internal Health Department experts, as well as external experts, where we learn about prevention strategies, treatment strategies, epidemiology and the landscape around the key recommendations chosen based on the evidence of that topic. We need to know the ‘why’ behind the campaign.
Once we have that under our belt, we shift to sessions on how to frame the issue, how to promote the materials, figuring out the “features and benefits” as well as the “barriers and objections” and finally “gaining a commitment”, which are phrases that come from pharmaceutical marketing. We’re “selling” and promoting public health interactions, so we work on those skills.
We also do a great deal of role playing, including videotaped analysis of each rep. We look at body language, what communication skills are effective, we do knowledge assessments, quizzes—we make sure our team is well-prepared to go out and detail. We take this seriously—they’re representing the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
What’s a major barrier your program has faced, and how have you tackled it?
Michelle: A big challenge, when starting a detailing program, is access. The landscape of healthcare systems in NYC has drastically changed over the past few years. As an example, several years ago, the majority of our Brooklyn territory was almost entirely made of up of small practices where access wasn’t an issue.
What’s changed since then?
Michelle: Now, many of these sites have become part of larger institutions, so there’s corporate buy-in that needs to happen for people to come in and talk to the staff. As I mentioned before, although we try and limit group presentations, this has proven to be an effective strategy when entering into a new relationship. Once they get to know us and recognize the value of the program, they’re engaged in having us come back to conduct 1:1 visits on the follow-up and subsequent campaigns.
How do you know when a campaign is working and becoming successful?
Michelle: Evaluation is always on the top of our priorities, and can be a challenge for any program to evaluate effectiveness. For every campaign we conduct an initial and follow-up visit where we assess provider practice.
This allows us to see if there has been a change in practice from the initial to the follow-up visit. Additionally, we rate what providers intend to adopt in terms of the key recommendations and supporting tools and resources. We also collect a large amount of qualitative data because it's also critical to gaining a more complete picture of the campaign’s success, especially when reporting on barriers, access and materials.
You can scale this up or down, depending on your need and organizational priorities. Our program focuses on where there’s the greatest need and potential for greatest impact.
Programs should make sure to look at their organization’s agenda and goals. It’s important to look at the data and plan the best course of action within the capacity you have.
Biography: Michelle Dresser. Michelle Dresser is the Senior Manager of Programming and Strategy for the Public Health Detailing Program within the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In this role, she oversees the overall programmatic direction and strategy of the program. This includes, campaign strategy and timing, campaign content, training and economic incentive development, provider selection, identification of targets to ensure the greatest impact on populations most in need, and identification of “new needs” opportunities to expand program reach and achievement of program goals. She also oversees internal and external strategic relationships to enhance programmatic objectives.
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.
Bevin K. Shagoury, Communications & Ed. Director
The NaRCAD team is heading into October with an afterglow from our latest 2-day training session with a truly dynamic group of outreach educators. Each new group of trainees inspires our team with their plans to use their new skills for innovative clinical education programming.
This fall’s training class will pursue a range of goals in their programs, including:
With attendees representing diverse geographic regions such as South Carolina, Norway, Washington State, and beyond, we were rewarded by this group’s eagerness to learn and to share fresh, new ideas on how to make our successful program even stronger.
Our program had a few new highlights to share, too—including an engaging presentation on theories of behavior change, led by Arielle Mather, MPH, NaRCAD’s Education & Training Manager. Setting the stage during Day 1 of our program, this foundational presentation reviewed behavior change models and theories that inform the practice of academic detailing, including Motivational Interviewing and the Theory of Planned Behavior. The presentation was met with enthusiasm and appreciation by trainees and facilitators alike, and many trainees requested more time to talk about these theories during breakout sessions.
Another new element of our program provided dedicated time on Day 2 for a lively group discussion on personalized support from NaRCAD. Trainees, staff, and facilitators brainstormed as a group the ways that NaRCAD could continue to bolster an active learning community through virtual resources, e-news, sharing of best practices, partner modeling, and 1:1 consultation. As a final new feature of our program, we created time during the personalized support session for more role-play practice. Participants who wanted additional support prior to their final, recorded detailing session had the option to head to a breakout room and receive additional, personalized practice time with an expert facilitator.
As we start planning for our Spring 2016 AD Techniques Training program, we have many new ideas to implement, trainee-to-expert introductions to make, and best practices to feature. As NaRCAD enters our 5th year and prepares for our 3rd annual conference, we hope you’ll join our community of experts leading the way to improving health outcomes with engaging, clinical outreach education.
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.