News & Events

Would YOU Randomize? CERTAIN Asked - You Answered

For the past 100 years appendectomy, or surgical removal of one’s appendix, has been the primary treatment for appendicitis—in fact, two high-profile celebrities, Rafael Nadal and Anderson Cooper, recently underwent surgeries for appendicitis. But new scientific evidence from Europe is challenging the notion that surgery is the best course of treatment for the disease. Five randomized trials involving over 1000 patients have shown favorable results for using antibiotics to treat appendicitis.

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Care and Outcomes in Skilled Nursing Facilities - New Article Examines the Evidence

The surgical population is aging, and an increasing number of surgical patients are being discharged from the hospital into skilled nursing facilities for rehabilitation and recovery. This post-surgical period of care is a very important but poorly-understood part of our healthcare system. In a new article in the Journal of Surgical Research, “Structure, process, and outcomes in skilled nursing facilities: understanding what happens to surgical patients when they cannot go home,” CERTAIN researchers examine current evidence surrounding care and outcomes for patients in skilled nursing facilities, and identify important areas where more evidence is needed.

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Exciting Work Ahead in 2015 - Stay up-to-date with CERTAIN


At CERTAIN, our goal is to improve the quality of heathcare by conducting meaningful comparative effectiveness research and quality improvement activities. By sharing what we learn with our broad network of healthcare stakeholders, we can ensure the work we do has a real impact. We hope you'll stay up-to-date with CERTAIN by reading our Blog, following us on Twitter and Facebook, and sharing our newsletter with friends and colleagues.

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New CERTAIN Publication Rethinks Elective Colectomy as a Treatment for Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a painful condition where small pouches of the colon (diverticula) become inflamed and infected. It is one of the leading reasons for elective colon resection—the surgical removal of part or all of the large intestine (colon). But in recent years this practice has been called into question. In a new manuscript, “Rethinking elective colectomy for diverticulitis: A strategic approach to population health,” CERTAIN authors Drs. Vlad Simianu and David Flum examine the current landscape of diverticulitis treatment and offer a new perspective on the treatment approach.

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Tell CERTAIN: Would You Participate in this Research Study?

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Quality Improvement & Innovation in Spine Care

Over the last three years, CERTAIN has been working with the spine care community in Washington State through the CERTAIN Spine Care Forum. Over 100 diverse healthcare stakeholders have come together on ten occasions since 2011 to identify areas for improvements in spine care and share results of quality improvement initiatives.

Last month, the Spine Care Forum was held at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle. Associate Director of Spine SCOAP, Dr. Neal Shonnard, began the event by sharing recent data collected from hospitals participating in the Spine SCOAP module. These data revealed promising trends in smoking cessation, blood glucose management, and adverse event rates for patients who underwent spine surgery in 2014. 

CERTAIN Medical Director, Dr. David Flum, presented exciting early findings of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) through the CERTAIN Hub - a web-based portal for improved patient data collection and delivering programs aimed at improving health and healthcare. For more information, you can view a demo version of the CERTAIN Hub.

Dr. Flum also shared a new prediction model developed using merged data from Spine SCOAP and CERTAIN patient-reported outcomes databases. The Spine Pain Improvement Calculator is a tool designed to help facilitate discussion among physicians, patients, and their families about the likelihood of pain improvement 60 days after a spine fusion surgery. Click on the image to the left to learn more, and to download the calculator.

Strong for Surgery Medical Director, Dr. Tom Varghese, Jr., gave the final presentation updating the group on recent successes and future plans for the Strong for Surgery program, including a pilot project aimed at opioid minimization for surgical patients. More details on that project to come!

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September is PAD Awareness Month - Learn How CERTAIN is Improving Care

Did you know September is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month? PAD is a disease that affects 7.3 million Americans. PAD most often occurs in the legs and causes plaque to build up in arteries. Over time, plaque can harden and narrow the arteries, limiting the flow of oxygen. Currently, CERTAIN is in the final stages of a comparative effectiveness research (CER) study of PAD that prospectively compares clinical and patient‐reported outcomes (PROs) of medical, surgical, and endovascular interventions for the treatment of claudication – a form of PAD that limits the ability to walk. The overall goal of the study is to better understand best strategies for treatment of patients with PAD, and through the Vascular Interventional Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (VI‐SCOAP) network, to translate findings back into quality initiatives for hospitals to improve overall care delivery. 

The PAD Study enrolled 328 patients across 15 participating partner sites at 11 Washington State hospitals. The final participant is expected to end follow-up in the fall of 2014. As the study comes to a close, CERTAIN will publish findings from the study. Additionally, CERTAIN will make available the Claudication Assessment Tool, which was developed early in the PAD study as researchers noticed a high degree of relevant data was missing or not reported by providers in the medical records. The tool was developed to help facilitate consistent reporting of important data that guide treatment decisions; improve communication between patients with claudication and their providers; and increase patient’s knowledge of modifiable risk factors.

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CERTAIN Investigators and Partners Voted Top Doctors

Five CERTAIN investigators were voted top doctors through a survey of over 1,400 doctors, nurses, and physician assistants in the Seattle area. The survey conducted by Seattle Met magazine asked respondents “If you or a loved one needed medical care, whom would you choose?” Rising to the top of over 13,000 nominations were:

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CERTAIN Approved for $945K Funding Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

CERTAIN has been approved for a $944,999 funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study patient engagement in research prioritization activities. The study is one of 33 proposals PCORI approved for funding on July 29 to advance the field of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) and provide patients, healthcare providers, and other clinical decision makers with information that will help them make better-informed choices.

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CERTAIN and SCOAP: High-Quality Data for Improved Healthcare

Quality was the resounding theme of the SCOAP 2014 Annual Statewide meeting on June 4th. CERTAIN serves as a partner for research and development to SCOAP, and the SCOAP Annual Meeting is a venue to share the successes achieved and upcoming developments through the SCOAP and CERTAIN partnership.

SCOAP Medical Director Dr. Ellen Farrokhi addressed an audience of healthcare stakeholders from all over Washington State. In outlining SCOAP’s tremendous accomplishments over the past nine years, she was quick to point out that quality is a long term and continuous process of improvement. Dr. Farrokhi emphasized that standardization and efficiency in care pathways should be the next focus in healthcare - ensuring healthcare providers are using the same methods in order to produce high-quality data.

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CERTAIN in the News
  • CERTAIN Medical Director Dr. David Flum on The Conversation with Ross Reynolds 4/11/12: listen here.