The start of 2015 finds Research and Development at Carilion Clinic reflecting on how research as one of our organizational pillars is contributing, or could contribute, to the triple aim of improved population health, patient care experiences, and reduced health care costs. We recently adapted our Research Acceleration Program application and review process to more explicitly call for proposals that aligned with Carilion Clinic care priorities. In addition, we have been reviewing the degree to which we are tracking outcomes beyond the typical research metrics of publications, presentations, and extramural grants obtained. Some of our discussions have moved towards our expectations for physician or nurse investigators related to publication and pursuit of extramural funding. For example, can we expect physicians or nurses that have 10% protected research time (the current average for those who have research time is 5%) to write and compete for NIH grants?
It is clear that we need to include metrics that demonstrate the benefits of our research for our current and future patients. Basically, we are looking to develop some outcome measures that can help to demonstrate the direct value of research to our patients. I have received some good ideas from a number of folks (including things like aligning research outcomes with existing reports used to document clinical or hospital effectiveness), but would love to hear other ideas, so please send any ideas along that you have.
We do have investigators in the system that have more significant research time and, in a few cases, have more experienced researcher scientists in place from places like the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and from Virginia Tech’s main campus. We are working on ways to make sure that the Carilion investment in these investigators results in high quality research that can be generalized across (and beyond) our health care system.
Feel free to reach out to me with ideas for keeping our research pillar strong and looking to the future. I'm looking forward to another great year in Carilion Clinic research!
Paul Estabrooks, PhD
Senior Director for Research, Carilion Clinic
Professor of Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise, Virginia Tech
Professor of Family Medicine, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine