Each year, Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) presents the Birnbaum Award to a Group Health individual or team that has made extraordinary contributions to research that improves patient care. This year’s award goes to eight individuals for their efforts to make shared-decision making part of routine clinical practice at Group Health. They are Group Health physicians Drs. Matthew Handley, David McCulloch, Christopher Cable, Marc Mora, Charles Jung, Jane Ann Dimer, and Marc Lowe; and Kim Wicklund, Group Health manager of Patient Engagement in Clinical Improvement & Prevention.
Shared decision-making involves providing patients with unbiased information in plain language about the benefits and risks of various treatment options. It is especially important for so-called “preference-sensitive” conditions with multiple treatment options but no clear-cut winner that fits every patient. Examples include care for knee osteoarthritis or certain kinds of prostate conditions.
Shared decision-making works best when patients receive information aids such as videos to help them learn about their options. As a result of this group’s work, Group Health has disseminated more than 50,000 decision aids to patients—more than any other health care system in the United States.
Group Health Vice President for Research Dr. Eric B. Larson presented the award June 3 at Group Health’s Annual Hilde and Bill Birnbaum Endowed Lecture. He credited the team for “creating a culture where patients are better informed, and their voices are more clearly heard when it’s time to make important decisions about their care.” Because of their efforts, “we have been able to demonstrate positive impact of decision aids on many aspects of care, including decreased utilization and costs in some areas,” he said.
In nominating the group for Birnbaum Award, GHRI Associate Investigator Dr. David Arterburn praised their strong leadership and dedication. Other key factors included support from the Group Health Foundation’s Partnership for Innovation and the engagement of providers throughout Group Health.
Any Group Health researchers or GHRI staff member can nominate an individual or team for the Birnbaum Award. A committee representing various parts of the organization selects the winner. Three other nominees also recognized at this year’s Birnbaum Lecture were:
The Behavioral Health Integration Team for work to improve alcohol-, drug-, and depression-related treatment in primary care. Nominated by GHRI Senior Investigators Drs. Katharine Bradley and Paula Lozano and supported in part by the Group Health Foundation Partnership for Innovation, team members include Drs. Larry Marx, Ryan Caldeiro, and Fred Brodsky; and Tory Gildred, Susan McDonald, Avra Cohen, Kim Wicklund, Robyn Mayfield, Sarah Miller, and Ryan Peterson.
Group Health’s Care Delivery IT Services and Web Services for fruitful collaborations with GHRI investigators to promote patient engagement using electronic health records. Online engagement of patients is now nationally accepted as standard care, in part because of Group Health’s innovation in this area. The nomination of Dr. Fred Brodsky, Sarah Miller, and Terri Boehmcame from GHRI Associate Investigator Dr. James Ralston.
Dr. Rebecca W. Lau, Group Health oncology pharmacy coordinator, for assembling a team that successfully launched the Oncology Price Transparency Innovation (OPT-IN) project. This pilot project, funded by the Group Health Foundation Partnership for Innovation, provides oncology physicians with average costs for common chemotherapies. OPT-IN increases cost transparency and helps doctors respond to patient requests for price information. Dr. Lau was nominated by GHRI Research Associate Dr. Nora Henrikson.
The 2015 Hilde and Bill Birnbaum Endowed Lecture, "Patient Engagement in the Digital Age," with keynote speaker Dr. Mike Evans, will take place on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at the Washington State Convention Center.
See it in Events.