Sep 12 2013

Human Capital News Roundup: The cost of overtriaging, ‘medical students’ disease,’ the demographics of new Medicaid enrollees, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast, and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

People who will be newly eligible for Medicaid after expansion under the Affordable Care Act will be younger and healthier than those currently enrolled in the program, according to a study by RWJF Clinical Scholars alumna Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, and program site co-director Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP. The researchers found that the new Medicaid enrollees will also be less likely to be obese or to suffer from depression, although more of them will be smokers and drinkers. Among the outlets to report on the findings: Reuters, Kaiser Health News, NBC News, NPR’s Shots blog, and Medpage Today.

Medpage Today reports on a study led by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumnus Craig Newgard, MD, MPH, finding that nearly one-third of patients sent to major trauma centers by first responders did not need that level of care and could have been sent elsewhere for diagnosis and treatment. This “overtriaging" raises per-patient health care costs by as much as 40 percent, the study finds. Read more about it.

While in Australia for a conference on reforming health care systems to meet the challenges of aging populations, RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program alumna Alicia Arbaje, MD, MPH, sat down for two interviews—one with The Australian Financial Review on how stereotypes about aging are changing, and one with Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio about transitional care and reducing readmissions among older adults after they leave hospitals. Read a post Arbaje wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about navigating care across settings and the role of caregivers.

Most people prefer interesting and fulfilling jobs, but will pick a less stimulating job if they perceive they might not be paid enough for the extra effort, according to a study co-authored by Peter Ubel, MD, the Triangle Business Journal reports. Ubel is an alumnus of the RWJF Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars program, and the recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.

A study led by David Grande, MD, MPA, finds that, after their treatment, patients care about who uses their electronic health data and what it’s used for, Modern Healthcare reports. The study asked patients to rank their level of comfort with sharing their information with university hospitals, public health departments, and commercial drug companies for research, quality improvement, or commercial marketing. Grande is associate director of the Clinical Scholars program and an alumnus of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program.

Asthmapolis, founded by Health & Society Scholar alumnus David Van Sickle, PhD, MA, is now Propeller Health, MobiHealthNews reports. The company will now offer services for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, in addition to asthma. “From a commercial standpoint, there’s just so much overlap between what we’re doing with asthma and what we need to be doing with COPD that it just has made sense in our customers’ eyes, so in part we’re reacting to that market demand,” Van Sickle said. Read more about Van Sickle’s work and his Q&A with the RWJF Human Capital Blog. reports on the glass orb technology designed by RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Martin Schiavenato, PhD, RN, that can detect pain in premature infants and perhaps protect them from its negative developmental effects. The device uses sensors to monitor a patient’s behavioral and physiological signs of pain and changes colors to give clinicians an immediate read on their patient's pain. Read more about the orb.

Clinical Scholars alumnus Barron Lerner, MD, wrote a post for the New York Times Well blog about why we shouldn’t write off medical students’ symptoms as “’medical students’ disease’…  the phenomenon in which medical students notice something innocuous about their health and then attach to it exaggerated significance." Two students in Lerner’s medical school class who presented symptoms actually had very serious illnesses, he writes.

Health & Society Scholars alumna Mahasin Mujahid, PhD, BS, is one of five professors participating in the University of California, Berkeley’s Resident Faculty program, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The professors and their families live in student dorms to humanize them and make them less intimidating to students. “We eat in the dining commons as a family a couple of times a week,” Mujahid said. “It allows students to see us as people.”

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars, Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Medicaid and CHIP, Nurse Faculty Scholars, Nursing, Physician Faculty Scholars, Research & Analysis