Mike Fischer, MD, MS, Director of NaRCAD | January 2017 Director's Letter
Growth. Support. Engagement. These words characterized 2016 for NaRCAD, and have us planning for an exciting 2017. In 2016, we had our most successful and impactful year to date. Our community has grown to over 1000 national and international supporters of clinical outreach education.
At #NaRCAD2016, our 4th annual conference on academic detailing, the agenda reflected what’s happening in the field, composed largely of ideas and presentations submitted by you, the members of our network. Keep your eyes open for our Call for Presentations on our NaRCAD Conference Series page— #NaRCAD2017 will be held here in Boston on November 6th & 7th, 2017 and applications for presentations will be accepted starting March 1st.
After this past year’s success, we’re even more committed to providing customized support to individuals, groups, and large organizations working on clinical outreach education.
In addition to our core training sessions in Boston (our next session is March 30th & 31st), we’re continuing to offer on-site topic-specific trainings, customized workshops, and special educational sessions on the principles and practice of AD.
In addition to providing direct support, we’ve been excited to successfully connect people and programs with each other, allowing for the exchange of ideas and best practices among both national and international experts. We’re proud of our ability to meet our partners where they are, whether they’re starting, expanding, or adapting AD interventions, and this year, we’re looking forward to supporting and improving your work.
We started this process by sending you our first annual community survey in December, and we thank our many members who responded. (You can still weigh in if you have thoughts, although our raffle is over!) We’ve listened to your insightful suggestions, and we’re already taking action to support your needs.
This year, we’ll be launching the new COrE (Clinical Outreach Education) Series, exploring AD program development, specific clinical content, and other topics you’ve suggested. Featuring AD experts, the NaRCAD team, and using both interview and live webinar formats, the COrE Series is a great opportunity for advanced learning, support, and collaboration. Stay tuned for more information!
We’ll also be increasing engagement opportunities via our Partner Network; we’ll be reaching out individually to learn more about your current work, and we’ll offer an interactive site where you can make your own partner connections with experts working on similar topics. As we grow even more in the coming year, your ideas and reflections remain invaluable.
You don’t have to wait for us to contact you! We invite you to be in touch with our team and tell us more about your program—what challenges you’ve faced, what successes you’ve experienced, best practices you’d like to share, programs you’d like to know more about, and the resources you need to help you succeed.
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.
Bevin K. Shagoury, Communications & Education Director
As we reflect on the successes and growth of NaRCAD in 2016, especially last month's terrific 4th International Conference on Academic Detailing in Boston, we give thanks to our community of supporters of clinical outreach education!
We're nearing 1,000 network subscribers who regularly read our blogs, newsletters, and attend our events, and we're appreciative of all of your hard work, feedback, and contributions to NaRCAD, making our resource center and partner network stronger with each year.
Thank you to all who have completed our 1st Annual Community Survey, providing us with valuable feedback on our services and resources. We're excited to find new ways we can continue to support your work, and we're always eager to read your feedback year round, so drop us a line if there's anything we can do to help you strengthen your AD programming. What do you have planned for 2017, and how can we help you increase your impact?
As we prepare for 2017, we're looking forward to continued innovation and success in the field of AD. Stay tuned--we'll kick off the new year with a special director's letter from Director Mike Fischer in our January Edition of Academic Detailing Today. And don't forget, our Spring 2017 AD Techniques Training will be held in Boston on March 30th & 31st, and registration opens January 1st.
Thanks for a wonderful 2016!
The NaRCAD Team
Director’s Letter: Fall 2016 | Mike Fischer, MD, MS, Director of NaRCAD
When the leaves start to turn here in Boston, we know it’s almost time for NaRCAD’s International Conference on Academic Detailing. This year’s 4th annual conference features several new and exciting sessions we’re excited to share with our community.
#NaRCAD2016 highlights the work of innovators in academic detailing from many locations and organizations, ranging from large national health systems to small independent programs.
Diverse clinical topics will be featured at our interactive sessions, including pediatric developmental screening, smoking cessation in patients with serious mental illness, opioid misuse and overuse, screening for ADHD, and many others.
Breakout sessions offer attendees a chance to work closely with leaders in the field, featuring in-depth and hands-on exploration of specific elements of academic detailing. Whether your focus is on training detailers, preparing clinical topic materials, or program evaluation, our dynamic breakout sessions offer a chance to network and acquire new skills.
Our conference is our largest event of the year, but our team has been busy this fall with other activities. At our Boston-based training in September we welcomed trainees from organizations across the country, all of whom concentrated on learning the techniques of academic detailing.
We also spent two days this fall in San Francisco, working with the city’s Department of Public Health on an intervention to increase the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for patients at risk of contracting HIV. We’re excited to continue supporting our partners at the SFDPH as they move forward on this important initiative.
Come join us at #NaRCAD2016! There’s only a month left to register, and space is limited. Check out our conference hub archival page to see what previous events were like, including on-demand video and program highlights. We’re excited that clinical outreach education has been such an effective strategy to address the pressing problems facing patients, clinicians, and health systems.
This year, we know that the opportunity to learn, share ideas, and connect with experts will continue to ignite inspiration for our community’s important work in improving quality of care and patient outcomes in 2017 and beyond.
Michael Fischer, MD, MS | Director, NaRCAD
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.
There was a brief shining moment starting in the early 1970s, when I was finishing medical school, that lasted into about the mid-1980s. Primary care physicians (PCPs) seemed poised to rise above their lowest-in-medicine stature to become recognized for playing a central role in the entire health care system (as, of course, they had been doing all along). In medical centers throughout the country, growing interest in ‘health maintenance’ and its accompanying insurance designs seemed poised to catapult PCPs from the role of nerds to quarterbacks.
Then, for reasons we don’t have the space to discuss here, in the following years in many settings, the quarterbacks got recast as gatekeepers, and then as switchboard operators.
Delivering primary medical care remained as innately vital and sacred a job as ever, but the stature and daily work of the PCP (with the second P now standing for ‘provider’) became degraded in many settings. Morale sank, and PCP burnout and dropout became more common.
What does all this have to do with academic detailing? A lot. One of the most frequent and visible ways that the quarterback-to-gatekeeper degradation has developed is in the role of clinical decision-making – for medications most often, but also about test ordering, specialist consultations, and many other choices the primary care clinician faces daily. In the Olden Times, which still survive in some pockets of our pathologically heterogeneous coverage system, these decisions are still left in the hands of the PCP, and are still made well or poorly by individuals.
But increasingly, such choices are driven by formularies, prior authorization requirements, algorithms, and other restrictions. Sometimes these are thoughtful, evidence-based guidances that are useful antidotes to the occasional wild and crazy choices some practitioners occasionally make – ‘freedom’ which can on occasion lead to potential harm to both patients and health care budgets.
But sometimes the restrictions are simple-minded, financially-driven, and disrespectful of the needs of specific patients and the nuanced judgment of the individual clinician. That’s where academic detailing comes in. There will always be a place for formulary limitations and restriction of the worst non-evidence-based decisionmaking. But wouldn’t we all rather live in a medical world in which decisions are primarily shaped by the informed decisions of a well-trained health care professional, updated through discussion of the latest data? Especially if that information was provided by another savvy clinician equipped to have a back-and-forth conversation about the basis and the pros and cons of trial findings, guidelines, and observational research?
That would help primary care clinicians make better decisions without all the limitations of arbitrary insurance requirements, or computer-based algorithms that sometimes function as if they know Mrs. Johnson better than her doctor does. It could also pave the way for wider adoption of the evidence-based recommendations that the more enlightened policies seek to achieve. And clinicians could again feel more like the health care professionals we spent so many years learning how to be.
Join us for Dr. Avorn's annual conference talk at #NaRCAD2016: Innovations in Clinical Outreach Education.
Jerry Avorn, MD | NaRCAD Co-Director
Dr. Avorn is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics (DoPE) at Brigham & Women's Hospital. A general internist, geriatrician, and drug epidemiologist, he pioneered the concept of academic detailing and is recognized internationally as a leading expert on this topic and on optimal medication use, particularly in the elderly. Read more.
Bevin K. Shagoury, Communications & Education Director
After another terrific 2-day Academic Detailing Training course here in Boston, it's easy to see how each new training class brings its own unique energy and important clinical interventions to the table. On September 19th and 20th, 2016, trainees from nearly every corner of the U.S. map joined us to learn the core, social marketing techniques of successful clinical outreach education.
While each training has its own unique group discussions and trainees, our 2-day course always includes presentations on the evidence base and history behind academic detailing, the best ways to evaluate evidence for your intervention, the foundation of behavior change theory for academic detailing, how to use educational materials in an effective way.
We lead interactive discussions, group activities, breakout role-plays, and for each training class, we customize a session encouraging the class to use the virtual resources on our Learning Center.
We hope you'll join us at a future training, and please join us for our upcoming conference this November, an exciting opportunity to engage in hands-on workshops, learn about best practices from experts in the field, and meet others doing similarly important work.
Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement of dates for our Spring 2017 training course--registration will open in January 2017. Learn more about our amazing staff and facilitator team, and explore our blog's interviews and events recaps to see how NaRCAD supports and highlights health education professional who are using academic detailing to improve health outcomes, one educational visit at a time.
Bevin Kathleen Shagoury | Communications & Education Director
Bevin manages NaRCAD’s external communications, working to magnify the impact of clinical education programs via strategic partnership development, best practices highlighting, and access to virtual learning platforms. 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.
An Interview with Mass Mental Health Center
Featuring Mark Viron, MD, adult psychiatrist & Director of Health Home Services at the Department of Mental Health’s Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC) in Boston; Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.
NaRCAD: We’re excited to talk about your program because it focuses on such an important population, and such a specific topic that’s been a focus of public health initiatives across the nation. Tell us about Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC).
Mark Viron: MMHC is a Department of Mental Health (DMH) community mental health center in Boston that has provided mental health services for over 100 years to people with chronic and persistent mental illness. Its ultimate goal is to help people maintain meaningful and productive lives in their community. In 2013, to better address the significant unmet primary care needs of our patients, we launched the Wellness and Recovery Medicine (WaRM) Center. The WaRM Center offers co-located and integrated wellness and primary care services for all MMHC patients.
NaRCAD: Why, historically, have rates of tobacco use been higher in folks with serious mental illness (SMI)? Why has there been resistance for clinicians to promote tobacco cessation for this group?
Mark: It’s a complicated issue. There are risk factors that increase the rate of smoking in this group and these are coupled with obstacles to getting appropriate treatment. People with SMI are overrepresented among populations that face social and environmental conditions that are typically associated with an increased prevalence of smoking – poverty, unemployment, limited education, etc. Obstacles to quitting include limited availability of resources, lack of clinician involvement, and poor social/peer support.
NaRCAD: Agreed! What do these AD-focused, 1:1 visits between trained physician educators and psychiatric prescribers entail?
Mark: The visits are 20-30 minutes long and follow the typical detailing visit structure. Visits are conducted by me, a psychiatrist at MMHC, or Gail Levine, MD, an internist and the Medical Director of our primary care clinic.
We meet with the prescribers in their offices, and begin by asking open-ended questions to assess their needs and learn about their successes (and challenges) in addressing tobacco use with their patients. We celebrate successes and validate challenges, and then pivot to sharing evidence-based information and key messages that may help them address these issues with greater success. We conclude the visit by reviewing steps the prescriber can take to increase successful tobacco treatment, and provide a copy of our detail aid, along with a few high-yield references.
A key ingredient to our success has been our detail aid. A great psychiatry resident (now attending), Kathryn Zioto, worked with Gail and me and the NaRCAD team to develop a detail aid about tobacco treatment in people with serious mental illness.
The detail aid contains cutting-edge, evidence-based information in clear language with colorful graphics. It includes information about the MMHC’S Smoke Free Team, and highlights our three “asks”, which helps clinicians frame their conversations with patients:
NaRCAD: We enjoyed working on this important project with you, and we know how important great materials are in engaging clinicians to consider behavior change. That said, how have psychiatric prescribers been responding?
Mark: The response has been quite favorable. It's been rewarding to sit down with colleagues and learn from their experience and expertise and to be able to offer some useful information about tobacco treatment and the Smoke Free Program. The one-on-one detailing encounters, even as brief as they are, give us quality time with our colleagues to focus on their individual concerns and questions. We probably get as much information as we give!
NaRCAD: Two members of your team, yourself and Gail Levine, attended our AD Techniques Training in 2015 to prepare for this initiative. How has the training helped you provide this education to prescribers?
Mark: Your training gave us an in-depth immersion into the world of academic detailing, helping us understand theories and evidence and think about implementation issues. Getting to practice detailing and getting feedback from experts in the field was invaluable, as was the ability to talk with people from around the country who are working on similar projects. NaRCAD's training is incredibly worthwhile – it was compact, comprehensive, and helped us acquire the needed skills to implement this project successfully.
Provider education, engagement and activation are key, and AD provides a framework that has a proven track record in producing results in these areas. Plus, AD is efficient and easily implemented relative to other interventions--especially when you have assistance from NaRCAD!
NaRCAD: Thanks for taking the time to connect with us. We’ve enjoyed helping to support this initiative with training and materials development! We look forward to continuing to learn about the impact you have on improving the health of people with serious mental illness, and sharing it with the community. We can't wait to hear more about this intervention at our conference this fall!
Biography. Mark Viron, MD is an adult psychiatrist and Director of Health Home Services at the Department of Mental Health’s Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC) in Boston and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. He specializes in the treatment of psychotic disorders and the integration of primary and behavioral healthcare for people with serious mental illness.
He graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine and completed his psychiatry residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Residency Program. He serves as an attending at MMHC’s partial hospital program, where he teaches and trains residents and medical students. He is also the project director for two grant-funded initiatives that aim to enhance MMHC’s ability to provide integrated primary and behavioral healthcare.
Director's Letter, Summer 2016
Mike Fischer, MD, MS, NaRCAD Director
Summer is in full swing, but we’re already looking ahead to #NaRCAD2016, our 4th International Conference on Academic Detailing, which we’ll host this fall on November 14th & 15th in Boston. We received a wonderful response to our first-ever call for proposals, with submissions from across the country and around the world, making the 2016 conference our most exciting and community-informed meeting yet.
Our team was inspired by the innovative and diverse proposals we received. Following in the footsteps of previous conference series programming, this year’s applications demonstrated a dedication to improving the quality of care and patient outcomes. #NaRCAD2016 applicants showcased success across a broad spectrum of AD interventions: in outpatient and inpatient settings, in public and private systems, and for a wide range of clinical topics.
We’re thankful to all who applied for #NaRCAD2016, and we encourage those who are just beginning to roll out an intervention to consider applying for next year’s conference.
Along with presentations from our selected applicants, this year’s program will include carefully designed content from leaders in the field, interactive learning sessions, and networking opportunities, including an evening reception.
This year will be your chance to learn about cutting edge interventions being implemented across the globe, to share your unique perspective and experiences, and to collaborate with a thriving community of clinical outreach education colleagues.
In that spirit of collaboration, we’re always eager to hear from you, the members of our learning network. We can support your AD programming with expert techniques training, materials development, evaluation, or by highlighting your work. We’re also dedicated to personally connecting our network members to one another, working to amplify our community’s knowledge, tools, and impact. Take a minute to tell us what resources you need, to explore our Learning Center, or to join the conversation—either virtually, or in Boston in November.
We’ll see you at #NaRCAD2016—registration is now open, and space is limited!
If you have questions, let our team know.
The exponential increase in computing power and data storage capacity, coupled with the sharp decrease in data processing costs, have made possible an era of ‘big data’ that is transforming many aspects of life and commerce. In health care, this evolution is enabling access to information that was impossible to imagine in the era when I first began this work when most prescriptions and test orders were still written on little scraps of paper. As applied to academic detailing, this growing capacity opens up a veritable armory of double-edged swords.
Knowing what doctors are ordering: This information has always been an important advantage of the pharmaceutical industry, which routinely buys the detailed prescribing records of specific physicians from intermediaries such as IMS, who in turn purchase these records from nearly every pharmacy in the nation. In the hands of an agile pharmaceutical representative, knowing a doctor’s drug preferences can be a powerful tool in shaping a promotional message tailored to that person.
Many of us in have had mixed views about the use of such data. On the one hand, it can make possible a more precisely focused discussion about optimal ordering of tests and treatments that is based on a given practitioner’s actual behavior. On the other hand, the approach comes with several risks. One is the concern that clinicians may feel “spied upon” – a problem that doesn’t seem to come up much in industry visits. This in turn can divert the conversation to discussion of “Why are you visiting me?” rather than a conversation about optimal patient care.
Data feedback to clinicians also degenerates frequently into he said-she said debates that often come down to “My patients are different!” We welcome feedback from academic detailing programs on how this use of data has worked (or hasn’t) in their own settings.
What patients are (or aren’t) doing: The computerization of dispensing records opened an era of hitherto-difficult research on patient adherence to their medication regimens, with generally depressing findings of low adherence. The full import of this rampant epidemic of non-compliance is still not well understood by most prescribers. The rapid growth in mobile and wearable technologies that capture physical activity and other lifestyle choices provides another potential source of data on patient behavior, but the best applications of this information are even less well understood.
In principle, academic detailing programs embedded in health care organizations can provide feedback to clinicians on how much or how little their patients are taking medications as directed or complying with other medical advice, and – more important – what to do about it. Is this a useful component of the educational encounter? Again, we would welcome hearing how this use of big data to provide feedback on adherence or patient behavior does or doesn’t fit into the work of ongoing academic detailing programs.
In the coming years, we will see even greater access to terabytes of data on who is ordering what, and what patients are doing with their prescriptions and other treatments. Used well, this technological revolution can provide added power to programs designed to improve that clinical decision making.
Expert Trainer Insight Series, Part 2:
An Interview with Amanda Kennedy, PharmD, BCPS, Director of the Vermont Academic Detailing Program
NaRCAD: Hi, Amanda! We’re looking forward to chatting with you. You’ve been an academic detailer for about 13 or 14 years—tell us about the Vermont program.
Amanda: The Vermont Academic Detailing Program was started in 1999, by Amy Jaeger, PharmD. I trained with Dr. Jaeger as a pharmacy resident. When she left Vermont in the early 2000s, she wanted to leave the program to someone who would be passionate about evidence-based prescribing in primary care.
So the job was mine! Amy unfortunately passed away unexpectedly in 2005, but her mentoring and passion for patient care has stayed with me, and has forever shaped the way I think about pharmacy and academic detailing.
We’ve evolved over time into a more organized program, with a grassroots focus of serving our state’s primary care providers. This commitment to service is how we succeed in building strong relationships with providers over time, and we infuse the spirit of service into all of our sessions.
NaRCAD: What challenges do you face that are specific to being a rural program?
Amanda: Our program has been stable, but it's been low budget over time. Despite being a small state, we face many challenges balancing the feasibility of delivering sessions to providers with our rural geography.
The evidence-base for academic detailing clearly demonstrates the value of a 1:1 ratio of academic detailer to provider. However, it doesn’t make sense for us to travel 2 hours each way to see one provider only to repeat the process the next day for a second provider within the same practice.
So we mostly deliver small group academic detailing sessions, as a way to serve as many providers as possible within our budget. We‘re mindful that “small group” means about 3 prescribers, which matches the types of practices we serve.
NaRCAD: Along with being a seasoned academic detailer, you also help us here at NaRCAD to train groups of new detailers at our Boston-based techniques trainings. Can you share some highlights?
Amanda: The power of the NaRCAD trainings is in the power of the individuals who attend. Realizing that other people are struggling with the same issues, and trying to address these issues with academic detailing, is so powerful.
NaRCAD: What would you tell someone who’s thinking about coming to a future NaRCAD training?
Amanda: I'd tell them to have fun with it! This training is a special opportunity to focus on how to best communicate with people around behavior change. It allows one to put aside specific topics and come together in a group to think about how best to deliver complex information.
The model applies across topics, allowing people from all types of programs to work towards a common goal. The training is hard work, but so rewarding, and offers the chance to learn and network with other trainees. The best part is that it’s immediately applicable upon returning to your program.
NaRCAD: That’s good advice—we agree that learning opportunities should be both challenging and enjoyable. In other news, we heard you recently presented at a U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Briefing. Tell us about that.
Amanda: I was invited to present at the briefing entitled, “Getting the Medications Right”: An essential ingredient in achieving the goals of H.R. 4878 – the Medicare Better Care, Lower Cost Act. The briefing was presented by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists.
The purpose of the briefing was to highlight pharmacists as members of the primary care team. I specifically presented some of my Vermont research that involved partnering pharmacists within patient-centered medical homes.
It was the perfect opportunity to showcase the innovative work we are doing here in Vermont. I think there was a great response from those who attended and for me personally, it was an absolute honor to be there.
NaRCAD: Thanks so much for taking the time to connect with us, Amanda. We’re delighted to have you as part of our core team of training facilitators, and we’re excited to share what you’re doing in Vermont with our community.
Learn more about Amanda Kennedy, or visit our Team Page to learn more about NaRCAD staff.
Join Us: NaRCAD's next training is open for registration.
Ask the Expert: Questions for Amanda? Ideas for us? Thoughts on detailing? Share your response in the comment section below for community discussion!
Bevin K. Shagoury, Communications & Education Director @ NaRCAD
We’ve just wrapped up our Spring Academic Detailing Training here in Boston, and we're excited to share a recap of an important event. With each new class of trainees, we see new ways that academic detailing can improve health outcomes for a variety of topics and populations.
This May 16th & 17th, the NaRCAD team hosted 18 trainees from across the U.S. and Europe. Our trainees represented programs looking to increase STD screening and sex education in Philadelphia, reduce overmedication of elderly long-term care residents across Indiana, teach safer opiate prescribing in Wisconsin, and implement other quality improvement initiatives in Ireland, Denmark, Georgia, Rhode Island, and North Dakota.
Everyone at NaRCAD would like to thank our fantastic, enthusiastic class of trainees for participating. We’ll be keeping in close touch as they go out into the field to implement important academic detailing interventions.
For other members of our community, we hope you’ll consider joining us this Fall at our next 2-day course on September 19th & 20th, 2016--it's the core of what we do. If it helps to convince you, 100% of our trainees from this week's course said they'd recommend our course to a colleague, so save the date, and be sure to register early as space is limited and seats fill quickly.
Registration opens on June 15th-we're looking forward to seeing you there!
Until then, remember: "Good information doesn't disseminate itself."
Director's Letter | Mike Fischer, MD, MS
NaRCAD has jumped right into action in 2016! We’ve been getting out of Boston, working with colleagues across the country in a range of settings. As we’ve partnered with state and local public health agencies, long-term care providers, primary-care networks, and other organizations, we’ve seen how the principles of AD can be adapted to fit the needs of different clinicians and patients. The work of our colleagues teaches us how we can best support clinical outreach education, raise its visibility, and improve health outcomes together.
We want to hear how all of you are tackling these challenges, and we hope you’ll share your successes with us. We’re featuring best practices on our blog and connecting partner organizations, and we know that in-person connection at our annual conference is a highlight for many in our field. As we begin preparing for the 4th International Conference on Academic Detailing, we’re inviting you to submit your work for presentation at NaRCAD 2016. We hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to share your successes and challenges—the deadline is approaching fast, so get those submissions in, and feel free to contact the NaRCAD team with any questions about the process. And Save the Date for November 14th & 15th here in Boston—we’d love you to join us at the conference to exchange ideas and strategies with colleagues from across the country and around the world.
At NaRCAD, we’re always expanding the range of services we provide, including our core training series on the techniques of AD, specialized workshops and seminars, and consultation on materials development for AD interventions. Let us know what we can do to strengthen your program and highlight your program successes this year.
NaRCAD: Hi, Meagan and Mindy—thanks for taking the time to talk with us about your clinical outreach education programming at Colorado ABCD. Can you give us an overview about ABCD and its mission to improve child development?
Meagan Shallcross: Colorado Assuring Better Child Health & Development (ABCD) works with community partners, pediatric healthcare providers, early learning providers, and families across Colorado communities. The goal is to strengthen systems and identify children with developmental delays, connecting them with community services as early as possible.
NaRCAD: Tell us a bit about your backgrounds. How did you each get into healthcare improvement?
Meagan: My background in public health, along with experience working in clinical settings and behavioral science research, developed my interest in healthcare improvement that aims to bridge community work and clinical practice, standardize clinical workflows, and ultimately improve experiences and outcomes for patients and families
Mindy Craig: My path to healthcare improvement is a little different than what you might expect. I worked for Northwest Airlines as a flight attendant for several years straight out of college. At that time the airline industry was losing a large amount of money and needed to find a new way of operating. They decided to utilize a Total Quality Management approach and enlisted people from every department to undergo training in TQM and then facilitate small departmental groups in quality efforts. It was through this process that I began to understand the importance of doing business with a quality framework.
Eventually, I left Northwest and started working in a Neurology clinic while going back to school with the goal of becoming a PA. After completing my degree I worked in primary care settings for about 10 years. I participated in small clinic QI efforts over the years and continued to be interested in quality improvement.
I was hired by ABCD 8 years ago to bring a clinical perspective to their physician outreach. It was a natural progression for me to start approaching our work at ABCD with a quality improvement framework. The power of engaging front line staff to implement changes that result in improvement remains as strong as it was when I worked in the airline industry.
NaRCAD: Talk with us about your academic detailing programming at ABCD—you’ve been doing this for about 10 years, right?
Mindy: We started our work encouraging the use of standardized developmental screening tools in the primary care settings. This was supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement in 2006 recommending the use of these tools at well child visits. We offered informal outreach to physicians providing instructions on screening tools, billing information, AAP recommendations and information on referral resources.
We quickly recognized that screening alone wasn’t sufficient and began talking about the referral process and how to ensure successful referrals were being made. At around this time, research was showing us that only about 50% of children referred for Early Intervention services were actually connecting to that referral. It was easy to identify children with concerns but not as easy to ensure they received needed support.
We decided to try formalizing our approach to outreach by offering Continuing Medical Education [CME] credits. While we didn’t change content, offering CME changed the way providers saw us as detailers. We appreciated the new credibility, but still struggled with recruiting new practices.
NaRCAD: Recruiting practices to participate is a challenge for many programs. How did this struggle transform into quality improvement?
We now offer Quality Improvement [QI] and MOC projects for implementing developmental screening, autism screening and postpartum depression screening in addition to a project that aims to increase the percentage of children who successfully connect with Early Intervention when referred from their primary care provider. We have been thrilled with the response from physicians for participating in these projects and just received funding to continue and grow our outreach efforts.
NaRCAD: What have been some other challenges you’ve faced when going in to talk to clinicians about implementing developmental screening?
Mindy: I started working at ABCD unsure of how to provide physician outreach, so I naturally modeled my efforts on the one successful approach I knew very well, which was pharmaceutical sales. As the recipient of pharmaceutical detailing, it was pretty easy to begin my outreach efforts in a similar fashion. I quickly learned how it feels to be a detailer. Front office staff rejected me repeatedly, I made hundreds of phone calls that didn’t get returned, and when I did get to speak to a provider I had to speak quickly and to the point to keep their attention. The challenge of gaining access was the biggest barrier I confronted early on and remains at the top of the list.
NaRCAD: When dealing with those challenges, what’s helped you to build relationships with clinicians in order to gain commitment?
Meagan: To deal with the challenges that arise, we have found that it helps to get creative in our approach to gain access to clinicians and add credibility to our messages. A barrier we have encountered when trying to schedule times to meet with clinicians is the expectation that we will provide food. Our funders and budgets do not allow us to pay for food, so we have opted to provide other incentives for clinicians, such as CME or MOC credit. Not only is offering CME/MOC credits an educational incentive for providers, but it lends credibility to our messages. We facilitate our QI projects through multiple meetings at the practice and have found that, by developing relationships and a presence in the office, we can overcome clinicians’ resistance to implementing screening or other changes in their practice.
NaRCAD: We were happy to see you at our 3rd International Conference on Academic Detailing here in Boston a few months ago. Tell us more about how the conference helped you think about your work in a different way.
Mindy: We were thrilled to be able to attend the conference and came away very energized. We highly recommend the conference to anyone doing similar work. Some of our key “take-aways” were around the fundamentals of academic detailing, including the need for profession materials and repeated visits to develop relationships. We came home committed to find money for developing professional materials and to attend the two-day intensive training offered by NaRCAD.
However, I’ve struggled with our role as a non-profit in meeting these needs. Up to this point, ABCD has utilized a very hands-on approach. We plan meetings, take notes, write up PDSA cycles, make “To Do” lists – anything we can do to make the process easy for the practice and allow the providers to concentrate on patient care. A true practice facilitation model is more concerned with increasing the capacity of the practice to continue quality improvement work after the facilitation had ended. The goal isn’t to do all the work, but to help the practice find capacity to do it themselves.
NaRCAD: What other advice would give to a new and emerging AD program that’s just getting started, or that you’d give yourself if you could go back in time 10 years?
Meagan: We have found NaRCAD’s training and tips to be very helpful, so we would recommend that new clinical educators attend a NaRCAD techniques training to hone their skills in communicating their messages with clinicians and gaining commitment to behavior change. One of our main takeaways from the NaRCAD conference was the importance of high-quality, professional materials, so we would recommend that new programs budget for the development of professional materials as well as food, which can be an incentive when setting up meetings with clinicians.
Over the years, we’ve realized how critical it is to work with community partners before going into healthcare practices to ensure that clinical workflows, such as processes for making referrals to external agencies, are aligned with community-defined processes and so that clinicians are aware of the resources available to patients and families in their communities.
NaRCAD: Thanks so much for sharing important insights from your program to improve childhood health outcomes. We look forward to seeing you at a future training and hearing more about your program's future successes!
Mindy Craig, PA-C, M.S., Director of Physician Outreach, has been with the ABCD team for 8 years and brings with her experience in the clinical setting. She earned her physician assistant degree at the University of Colorado Health Science Center’s Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program in May 2000. Concurrently, she completed additional course work and research to earn her Master of Science degree in Pediatrics. Ms. Craig worked as a physician assistant in a number of settings for ten years prior to joining the ABCD team. Her medical career has included a variety of medical office positions from medical records clerk to practice manager. This range of experience positions her to fully understand the unique dynamics and flow in a typical office, which allows her to deliver technical assistance to practices at a meaningful level.
Ms. Craig’s quality improvement experience began in the business sector where she was extensively trained on Total Quality Management (TQM) at Northwest Airlines. She worked at the airline as a facilitator, training inflight and ground personnel in the principles of quality improvement. This experience with quality continued in the clinical setting, as she has participated in and/or chaired a number of quality improvement projects over her career as a physician assistant. In addition to her work at ABCD, Ms. Craig also does consulting work for organizations needing assistance with physician outreach and education.
Meagan Shallcross, MPH, Healthy Steps/Physician Outreach Coordinator, joined the ABCD team in June 2015 as the Healthy Steps and Physician Outreach Coordinator. Meagan is passionate about building systems and environments that support children’s healthy development through clinical-community partnerships and integrated care delivery approaches. Meagan earned a Master of Public Health degree at the University of Michigan, where she supported Patient and Family Centered Care projects at the university health system and was involved with community-based participatory research addressing health equity, as well as research focused on provider-patient communication.
Learn more at www.coloradoabcd.org. All photos used with permission.
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.
Trainee Update Series: Where Are They Now?
Bevin K. Shagoury, Communications & Education Director
Hi, Emily! We’re happy to reconnect with a NaRCAD trainee, and to feature your current work on this month’s blog. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up working at the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable?
I’ve worked in public health for 12 years, and in seven of those years I’ve focused on cancer screening and prevention. I got to know NaRCAD while working at the Washington State Department of Health, where I designed their approach and curriculum to coach primary care clinics and health systems on quality improvement strategies to increase colorectal cancer screening. Then last summer I joined the American Cancer Society as the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable’s new associate director.
In this role much of my work is still focused on developing educational resources for providers, but I’m also involved in efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening through other channels, such as public education and policy. I learned so much about effective methods for conducting clinical education from the NaRCAD Academic Detailing training that I participated in back in October 2012. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to reconnect with NaRCAD, and thank you for the opportunity to share an update on my work!
Tell us a little bit about background and goals of the Roundtable.
The Roundtable, established by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1997, is a national coalition dedicated to reducing the incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer in the U.S., through coordinated leadership, strategic planning, and advocacy. Today, the Roundtable is a collaborative partnership with more than 100 member organizations across the nation. Through the efforts of several task groups, the Roundtable advances initiatives that focus on provider education, public education, health policy, quality and disparities issues.
Thanks in part to the work of many of our members, colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates have dropped by over 30% in the U.S. among adults 50 and older in the last fifteen years, with a substantial fraction of these declines due to screening. Yet, despite the good news, colorectal cancer remains the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. when men and women are combined.
The Roundtable is focusing on a great initiative called “80% by 2018.” What’s the story behind this movement?
To accelerate efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening, the Roundtable launched the 80% by 2018 initiative in March of 2014. 80% by 2018 is a movement in which hundreds of organizations have committed to substantially reducing colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and are working toward the shared goal of reaching 80% of adults aged 50 and older screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.
To date over 650 organizations – including medical professional societies, academic centers, survivor groups, government agencies, cancer coalitions, cancer centers, payers and many others – have signed a pledge to make this goal a priority. If we can achieve 80% by 2018, 277,000 cases and 203,000 colorectal cancer deaths would be prevented by 2030. You can learn more about 80% by 2018 and pledge your organization’s support on our 80% by 2018 webpage.
You attended a NaRCAD Academic Detailing Training a few years back to practice skills in clinical outreach education. Can you tell us a little bit about the highlights of your experience?
Academic detailing and practice facilitation are relatively new fields, so when I first accepted a job that included these skills I felt a little in over my head! I was up for the challenge, though, since I saw provider education and training as a way to move further upstream in making substantive and sustainable changes that would positively affect public health. It can take a while for new clinical findings to get implemented in primary care, so I saw that academic detailers and practice facilitators serve a key role in getting these findings into clinical practice.
My two-day Academic Detailing Training with NaRCAD taught me practical skills to work in this role, and gave me the confidence to know I could be effective without a clinical background. The highlight was the role-playing and one-on-one feedback from experienced academic detailers. Their personal feedback was not something I could have found in a book or online training.
What tools from the training do you think are most relevant to active detailers in the field?
Some of the most valuable tools I took from the training were the interpersonal skills needed to be effective as an academic detailer. The tips on how to solicit buy in after sharing a practice change was incredibly useful, such as asking: “does this sound like something you’d be willing to try in your practice?”
It was also really helpful to learn how to approach sharing a clinical update that could potentially make a provider feel as though they had been delivering inappropriate care. The training taught me how to navigate these discussions by saying that while something might be common practice it’s no longer supported by the latest clinical evidence. In my experience, providers were very receptive to learning new clinical updates when it was shared in such a way that they did not feel they were being reprimanded for not knowing already knowing the latest evidence.
Thanks for chatting with us. We’re happy to help get the word out about “80% by 2018” and looking forward to hearing the results of the initiative.
Thank you for the opportunity! I enjoyed reconnecting with you and reflecting on how my training with NaRCAD has enriched my work in clinical education. I’d like to encourage any readers that are interested in 80% by 2018 and efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening to learn about the campaign. And there are lots of great tools and resources in the provider education section of our website that might be of particular interest to academic detailers.
Emily Butler Bell is the Associate Director of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. In this role she manages a number of projects that support the 80% by 2018 initiative, a movement in which hundreds of organizations are working toward the shared goal of reaching 80% of adults aged 50 and older screened for colorectal cancer by 2018. Prior to joining the Roundtable, Emily served as the Cancer Screening Quality Improvement Consultant for the Washington State Department of Health, where she designed their approach and curriculum to coach primary care clinics and health systems on quality improvement strategies to increase colorectal cancer screening.
Prior to that, Emily worked with the American Cancer Society in Austin, TX as a Cancer Information Specialist and later as a Health Insurance Specialist, where she gained insight into the access and affordability issues surrounding colorectal cancer screening. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
We’ve just celebrated the 5th anniversary of NaRCAD, the only national resource center and network advancing clinical outreach education. We’re also celebrating a terrifically successful 2015. Highlights included running two sold-out academic detailing techniques trainings here in Boston; traveling to San Francisco and Oklahoma City for two customized off-site trainings; and bringing everyone together for #NaRCAD2015: Motivating Change, Transforming Care, our most successful annual conference so far.
We’re proud of it all, and more, including the brand-new NaRCAD Website—enjoy and explore a new gateway to academic detailing, including more interactive resources and expanded opportunities for connection, learning, and sharing. With so much to celebrate from 2015, we’re setting the bar high with big goals for the year ahead. Here’s what we’ll be up to in 2016, with you as our partners:
Transformative Trainings: Registration for our May training in Boston is open and already filling up fast! We’re also happy to be in high demand for at least 5 “on-the-road” educational sessions and related projects across the US this year. If you want to learn more about the ways we can share our resources and expertise to help your clinical outreach education program grow and succeed, let us know—we’d love to learn about what you’re doing and see how we can help.
#NaRCAD2016: Collaborating to Create Change. Our annual conference is the capstone of the year, so mark your calendars for November 14-15, 2016. What’s new this year? #NaRCAD2016 will feature opportunities to submit a proposal to showcase your clinical outreach education experience, data, and insights with the rest of the NaRCAD community. Keep your eyes on your e-mail and our conference page for more details about submission, coming soon.
More Collaboration for Improved Health Outcomes: With 5 years of partnerships under our belt, we’re continuing to connect every day with new colleagues working in the field of AD and clinical outreach education. We’re excited to keep expanding our community and creating opportunities for deeper collaboration across programs. We invite you to stay connected as we continue to publish new blogs and interviews, feature partners on our network directory, expand our Learning Center offerings, and recommend evidence-based health news and events on our social media feeds.
Most of all, our team wants to hear from you! Drop us a note to tell us what you’re doing, and tell us how we can help strengthen your program and highlight your successes.
See you this year!
Dr. Mike Fischer
Jerry Avorn, MD, Co-Director of NaRCAD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women's Hospital
Consider the following recent news development:
A large multinational company is discovered to have purposely hidden the risks of one of its best-selling products by suppressing information about its adverse effects and presenting only a selective set of data about its impact, to cast it in a more favorable light than was accurate. The magnitude of this distortion was so great that it posed health risks for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the industrialized world. The company admitted guilt and said it would try to do better in the future. No criminal charges were pressed, and none may ever be.
I refer, of course, to Volkswagen. Last year, the carmaker was found to have rigged the pollution-control devices in its diesel cars to make it appear they were reducing emissions, but only when the car was being inspected. The rest of the time the autos spewed out pollutants far in excess of the allowed limits. The engineers and executives who perpetrated this enormous hoax were not demons. They were employees of a large corporation who let the need for profit (or shareholder value, a more polite term) push them beyond the limits of accurately presenting data about their products. These things happen in large companies, including drugmakers, who have in the last decade or so had to pay over $15 billion in legal settlements, most of which dealt with such mis-statements of benefits and harms. Nothing personal; it’s just business.
Anyone who is shocked about this should go back to review the imperatives of corporate life, as defined by the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. In a 1970 article, he noted that “There is one and only one social responsibility of business -- to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits….” Unfortunately, the second half of that sentence is often omitted: “…so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” In an era of an overstretched and sometimes overmatched FDA, there’s a greater need than ever to present clinicians with an accurate depiction of the good and harm that medications can do.
Of course, academic detailing is about far more than just correcting the excesses or misstatements of drugmakers. Our job is to present a comprehensive, un-skewed overview of the benefits and risks of medications and other health care decisions. But in doing so, we sometimes have to address misconceptions generated by some drugmakers who are, I suppose, just trying to give their shareholders a good return on their investment. Whether a company makes cars or drugs, its staff at all levels are under tremendous pressure to increase sales. This can often draw otherwise reasonable employees close to – or sometimes over – the line of what’s deceptive.
In academic detailing, we don’t have to worry about sales goals or profit margins. The only currency we need to maximize is accurate evidence; our only “shareholders” are patients and the clinicians who care for them. In a way, that’s the easiest and best part of our jobs.
Bevin K. Shagoury, NaRCAD Communications
The excitement and breadth of content in this November’s 3rd International Conference on Academic Detailing exceed what we can capture in this blog post. The combination of exciting speakers, engaging panelists, expert breakout session leaders, and national and international attendees eager to problem-solve created a forward-thinking event that inspired all of us working on AD and related outreach educational activities. As you reflect on our event's highlights, we encourage you to access on-demand video, speaker biographies, session descriptions, and more at our Conference Hub resource page.
Kicking Day 1 off and setting the tone for the entire event, NaRCAD Director Dr. Mike Fischer warmly welcomed our packed room at Harvard Medical School’s Martin Center by encouraging collaboration, connection, and sharing. Our Day 1 Keynote Speaker Dr. Carolyn Clancy, the CMO of the Veteran’s Health Administration, described the VHA’s work to improve pain management in the veteran population while addressing the challenges of medication abuse and overdose. Dr. Clancy shared strategy and data behind the national effort and the critical role of academic detailing in it, connecting attendees to a big-picture view that can be adopted to look at other health epidemics and interventions.
Our first expert panel presented Practice Facilitation in Primary Care. Andy Ellner moderated the session, leading panelists Ann Lefebvre of North Carolina's AHEC Program, Lyndee Knox of LA Net, and Allyson Gottsman of HealthTeamWorks to discuss strategies, contextualize their work in relation to academic detailing and quality improvement, and share their personal approaches to challenges in primary care behavior change. Allyson Gottsman’s much-appreciated analogy that practice facilitation is not unlike “leading a fisherman to a well-stocked pond” resonated with panelists and participants alike. Many attendees who were actively engaged in practice facilitation in their daily work shared that the panel helped them to think about their work in a new way.
The afternoon’s breakout sessions offered attendees multiple tracks with AD-related topics to explore: deconstructing and analyzing a 1:1 AD visit, exploring the skills needed to manage an effective AD program, and strategizing on ways to identify and harness stakeholder support when initiating a new program or strengthening an existing one.
The afternoon closed with two presentations; the first, by Terryn Naumann of the Canadian Academic Detailing Collaboration (CADC), offered participants a view of the power of synergy and teamwork, the historical context of the CADC’s creation and growth, and the future of the collaboration.
The final presentation of the day was a lively one by NaRCAD’s co-founder and co-director, Dr. Jerry Avorn, who identified major obstacles to effective evidence-based communication in the current landscape of healthcare, and provided a future-centered lens through which attendees could envision how academic detailers can address these challenges. A full day of new ideas and connections culminated in a networking reception that gave attendees a chance to relax and connect socially.
Day 2’s morning opened with another engaging Keynote Speaker; Dr. Don Goldmann, CSO & CMO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, combined quality improvement theory with personal anecdotes, weaving in real-life examples of successful interventions to provide context and dimension to the theory that underlies all of our work.
More examples of successful practice change were illustrated by the morning’s Themed Plenary on the Intersection of Public Health and AD. Dr. Phillip Coffin of the San Francisco Department of Public Health shared the success of an intervention focusing on co-prescribing of naloxone to reverse opioid overdose deaths in San Francisco. Another successful AD intervention was presented by Michael Kharfen of the Washington D.C. Department of Health, who highlighted the successful implementation of AD programs to increase HIV and Hepatitis C screening and treatment.
The afternoon featured our second Expert Panel, this time on the role of AD within integrated healthcare systems. Moderated by Dr. Mike Fischer of NaRCAD, panelists Joy Leotsakos of Atrius Health (MA), Sameer Awsare of Kaiser Permanente Medical Group (CA), and Valerie Royal of Greenville Health System (SC) shared their experiences using AD in systems at different stages of development. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss this topic further in the afternoon’s breakout sessions, which also included a session on practice facilitation, as well as third session to continue to explore AD and public health partnerships.
The conference’s closing discussion was led by Mike Fischer, who thanked not only the speakers, panelists, and session leaders, but the participants, whose willingness to share their experiences within an interactive setting was key in creating solutions to bring back to use in their daily work. The creative collaborations, exchange of resources, excitement in combating challenges in the field, and belief in the importance of AD for the future of healthcare transformation were felt by all at the closing of a very full and thought-provoking event.
Our Twitter feed tracks the event’s highlights through #NaRCAD2015, and you can catch our event photo album on our Facebook page. We invite you to explore these topics, learn about our speakers and attendees, and connect with us at the NaRCAD Conference Hub, where you can access on-demand video of all main sessions from the conference. Thank you again to all who attended, and to AHRQ for funding our series. Please stay in touch with us and each other, and continue the conversation and idea sharing below.
We hope to see you in 2016!
Jerry Avorn, MD, NaRCAD Co-Director
Often, in discussing academic detailing programs with current or potential sponsors, the question comes up: “Wouldn’t it be cheaper just to deliver the message to a whole group of clinicians at once, instead of the much more cumbersome process of talking to prescribers one at a time?” Sure, it would be cheaper.
So would just mailing (or e-mailing) memos to people telling them what to do, or requiring time-consuming groveling on 1-800-DROP-DEAD prior authorization numbers before a costly resource can be ordered. The problem is that cheaper solutions often don’t work, or don’t work well. We have decades of proof that putting health care professionals together in a darkened auditorium and subjecting them to a PowerPoint Tolerance Test does not reliably change behavior.
The main reason that academic detailing relies on one-on-one interactive communication is that it is the best way for the outreach educator to accomplish several key goals:
Well-trained academic detailers understand this, and they use the interactivity to craft a real-time, care-improvement message that best addresses the learning needs (and attitudes and biases!) of the person they’re visiting. Less competent academic detailers force their “targets” to sit still while they administer a canned micro-lecture monologue, which works poorly. They may feel they “got through all the points” they wanted to cover, but if there was no interactivity, no conversation, then the person they were talking at might as well have been falling asleep in a darkened amphitheatre.
We know this is the case from decades of experience and scores of randomized controlled trials. We also know, perhaps most compellingly, that when the drug industry wants to change what we know and about its products, it sends people to our offices to talk with us—it doesn’t rely only on the less expensive modalities of mailings, e-messages, and sponsored lectures.
So the next time someone suggests that it might be more inexpensive to just gather prescribers into a big room and have someone talk at them for an hour, agree with them. Then point out that it’s also less time-intensive to scarf down a Big Mac than eat a real meal, shoot off a series of emoticons rather than a personalized note, or listen to a ring tone of a Beethoven sonata rather than hear it performed by musicians. Cheaper isn’t everything.
Mike Fischer, MD, MS, NaRCAD Director
NaRCAD is thriving, thanks to the engagement and enthusiasm of our network of healthcare professionals working to improve patient outcomes. The best way to become more involved in that network is to join us for our 3rd International Conference on Academic Detailing. This year’s conference will be our most exciting and interactive event to date, with a stimulating 2-day program bringing together thought leaders for expert panels, best practices, breakout tracks, networking, and invigorating group discussions on innovations in the field.
Our keynote presentations will provide critical insights for everyone working to improve healthcare quality and patient outcomes. On Monday, Nov. 9th, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Chief Medical Officer of the Veterans Health Administration, will highlight the VA’s use of academic detailing to address the epidemic of opioid overdose and misuse to save veteran’s lives. On Tuesday, Nov. 10th, Dr. Don Goldmann, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, will provide his insights on how to engage front-line clinicians in committing to change – drawing on IHI’s years of experience in promoting patient safety.
Many questions about academic detailing still need to be explored, new ideas generated, and connections made. We
need to foster solution-based discussion from a wide range of voices, representing clinical education, public health, practice transformation, government, the non-profit sector, hospital networks, academic institutions, and others. But the most important ingredient for the success of this event is you.
Join us as we work together to discover solutions, connect you with others that can amplify your impact and elevate your work, and share your experiences and insights on the best ways to navigate a rapidly-changing healthcare landscape. We hope you’ll join us this November 9th and 10th, and that you’ll help us spread the news about this unique, transformative event. See you in November!
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.