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Keeping Pace with the Knowledge Explosion

Aug 9, 2012, 12:17 PM, Posted by Sanjeev Arora

Sanjeev Arora Sanjeev Arora

Originally posted on the Wing of Zock, an AAMC-powered blog for conversation and new thinking about health care through the lens of academic medicine.

Knowledge and expertise are at the center of medical care — without them, we are working in the dark. Fortunately, there is plenty of knowledge to be had: More medical knowledge has been created in the past one hundred years than in the previous five thousand, and more knowledge will be created in the next 50 years than ever before. Yet we have a serious shortage of expertise, in the form of access to clinicians with the latest knowledge and best practices, especially for the care of underserved populations.

Why? This explosion in medical knowledge has not yet been accompanied by a similar transformation in our approach to medical education. In short, we’re not able to keep up.

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Meta Care

Jul 18, 2012, 4:30 PM, Posted by Nancy Barrand

Nancy Barrand B&W close Nancy Barrand

“You need a logarithmic methodology to expand capacity to match the logarithmic increase in knowledge that is occurring worldwide.”

That’s how Dr. Sanjeev Arora described the force multiplication theory at the core of Project ECHO during last week’s launch of the ECHO model throughout the VA. It’s also a call to action for how we approach medical training and health care delivery.

Knowledge is power, yes, but in health care, knowledge is life-saving. Knowledge is more pain-free hours in the day. Knowledge is quality of life.

We need to think differently about how we share knowledge.

Let’s allow Dr. Arora to walk us through the math:

"More knowledge has been created in the last 100 years than was created in the last 5,000. And more knowledge will be created in the next 50 years than has ever occurred before. So what this leads to is a very complex issue—you have an explosion of best practices and how do you take these best practices to affect underserved populations that may be living all over the world? As a result of this knowledge explosion, what is happening is there is a shortage of highly specialized expertise all over the world, not just rural areas; even urban underserved areas experience this shortage."

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Of Force Multipliers and Hot Spotting: RWJF-Supported Initiatives Bring Forth Innovation

May 16, 2012, 4:14 AM, Posted by John R. Lumpkin

John Lumpkin John Lumpkin

Innovation – the process of applying new thinking to old problems – is critical to improving our health care system.

On May 8, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its first round of Health Care Innovation Award grants to 26 organizations nationwide, including two groundbreaking initiatives that have been supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Together, Project ECHO and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers funded through Cooper University Hospital will receive three-year HHS grants totaling more than $11 million to amplify their efforts to improve both the quality and affordability of health care.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted that the awards will “provide our most creative minds … with the backing they need to build the strong, effective, affordable health care system of the future.”

In the case of both Project ECHO and the Camden Coalition, these words could not be truer.

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Pioneer Grantees Top RWJF's Most Influential Research Articles of 2011

Jan 31, 2012, 8:57 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

And the winner is …

We were quite proud and excited by the recent news that the work of two Pioneer Portfolio grantees placed first and second in the Most Influential RWJF Research Articles of 2011, as announced by David Colby, vice president of research and evaluation at RWJF, in January’s Evidence Matters.  

Coming in at number one, The Use of Twitter to Track Levels of Disease Activity and Public Concern in the U.S. During the Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic, published in May’s PLoS ONE. Dr. Phil Polgreen and colleagues at the University of Iowa monitored disease activity during the H1N1 outbreak by analyzing public messages or "tweets" on Twitter. The study established a model for monitoring disease outbreaks in real time.

Second place went to Project ECHO’s Outcomes of Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus Infection by Primary Care Providers, published in June’s New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Sanjeev Arora and colleagues demonstrated that through Project ECHO’s transformative model of health education and delivery, primary care providers can be trained via video communications and real-time, case-based learning to manage complex chronic conditions formerly outside their expertise, thus expanding their ability to bring better care to more people in their own communities. By putting the best available medical knowledge into the hands of everyday clinical practitioners, Project ECHO exponentially expands the capacity of the health care workforce to provide high-quality care in local communities.

Congratulations to these grantees for their influential and innovative work to transform health and health care. We’re proud to call you part of the Pioneer family.

And a big thank you to all who voted or helped spread the word about these and the other great research articles in 2011’s top 25 list. You can still join in the conversation by using #Final_5 on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to discuss the winners and congratulate all the grantees who participated.

While you’re reviewing the Most Influential Research Articles of 2011, take a look at the top three most viewed Pioneering Ideas blog posts from 2011:

We look forward to exploring more pioneering ideas with you in 2012 and highlighting the important work of our grantees. Keep checking back or better yet, sign up to receive Pioneer’s content and funding alerts and future Pioneering Ideas posts.

Discovery Channel Documentary Highlights Project ECHO

Nov 23, 2011, 11:20 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

For some years now, health care innovators have been using emerging health information technologies to transform everyday clinical care. But Pioneer grantee Project ECHO applies these technologies in an entirely new and revolutionary way:  to spread medical knowledge throughout the health care workforce, and, in the process, form collaborative practices, build new professional skill sets and exponentially expand the capacity of the entire health care system.

Project leader Sanjeev Arora, MD, of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, developed the ECHO model to break down medical “knowledge monopolies” so that doctors, nurses and other clinicians can deliver better care to more people who need it, right in their communities. Project ECHO uses video communications technology to create real-time virtual networks for sharing the best medical practices and knowledge between specialists at a university medical center and local primary care teams. 

A new Discovery Channel documentary, Health I.T.: Advancing Care, Empowering Patients, features ECHO amongst a handful of innovative efforts using technology to transform patient care. The segment tells the story of a primary care physician living in rural New Mexico who uses technology in a new way to address her patient’s condition. View the program online or watch it on the Discovery Channel this Saturday, November 26, at 8:00 a.m. ET.

For more information on Project ECHO: