2011: The Year in Research

In early December, we take a look back on the year’s research conducted by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantees and choose 20 articles that contributed significantly or influenced the field of research in some way. Articles are chosen based on their popularity on RWJF.org. We then open up the voting polls and ask you, our research colleagues, to tell us who will make the “Final 5” Most Influential Research Articles of 2011. Votes are counted and winners are announced in January.

Year in Research 2011 was our most successful year yet. More than 2,200 voters came from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Voters, thank you for participating this year and making your voices heard!

To all nominees, our research grantees, we are proud to have you as part of our research team and we thank you for your continued efforts in research and evaluation to improve our country’s health and health care.

To our “Winners,” thank you for your outstanding contributions to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the field of research.

The “FINAL 5” are:

No. 1. The Use of Twitter to Track Levels of Disease Activity and Public Concern in the U.S. During the Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic
By: A Signorini, AM Segre and PM Polgreen
During the H1N1 outbreak, the authors of this study monitored disease activity by analyzing public messages, "tweets," on the social networking site Twitter. The study established a model for monitoring disease outbreaks in real time.

No. 2. Outcomes of Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus Infection by Primary Care Providers
By: S Arora, K Thornton, G Murata, P Deming, S Kalishman, D Dion, B Parish, T Burke, W Pak, J Dunkelberg, M Kistin, J Brown, S Jenkusky, M Komaromy and C Qualis
Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a disruptive model of health education and delivery, makes the medical resources of academic medical centers available to treat and improve outcomes for rural HCV patients.

No. 3. Evidence Links Increases In Public Health Spending To Declines In Preventable Deaths
By: GP Mays and SA Smith
This study found that mortality rates fell between 1.1 percent and 6.9 percent for each 10 percent increase in local public health spending.

No. 4. Nurses' Widespread Job Dissatisfaction, Burnout, And Frustration With Health Benefits Signal Problems For Patient Care
By: MD McHugh, A Kutney-Lee, JP Cimiotti, DM Sloane and LH Aiken
Patient satisfaction levels are lower in hospitals with more nurses who are dissatisfied or burned out—a finding that signals problems with quality of care.

Tied for No. 5. Measuring the Health of Communities: How and Why?
By: PL Remington and BC Booske
Challenges to measuring population health exist, but as these authors note, attempting to measure the overall health of populations allows public health leaders to better allocate resources to areas of greatest need.

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year
By: A Finkelstein, S Taubman, B Wright, M Bernstein, J Gruber, JP Newhouse, H Allen, K Baicker and the Oregon Health Study Group
Results from the first year of the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment show that people with health insurance have significantly higher health care utilization, lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and medical debt, and better self-reported health.

If you have comments on this year's winners or suggestions how we can make this poll even better next year, please share them with me on Twitter.

And congratulate the winners on Twitter by using hashtag #final_5.