News & Events

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.

CERTAIN Medical Director Dr. David Flum echoed this theme, stating that, “driving data into the direction of learning is what [the SCOAP-CERTAIN partnership] is about.” In his Hot Topics in Researchpresentation, Dr. Flum outlined the work CERTAIN has done over the past year to translate SCOAP data into initiatives that help ensure we are delivering healthcare that emphasizes quality, safety, effectiveness, and appropriateness. To illustrate this point, he outlined a few of CERTAIN’s current initiatives that build on these themes:

Afternoon breakout sessions offered strategies for improvement in areas such as spine care, general and colorectal surgery, vascular surgery, and hospital engagement. These meetings were opportunities for CERTAIN to showcase our direction in key areas over the coming year and our success at engaging healthcare stakeholders in our work. These sessions featured presentations on some of the latest findings in healthcare research and generated lively conversations about the prioritization of future research questions. During the general and colorectal breakout, CERTAIN fellow Dr.Vlad Simianu presented his research in diverticulitis, outlining the current wide variation in the use of colectomy as a treatment for this disease and the need for better data that could provide insight into why the variation is so high. In response, the surgeons and stakeholders in this session discussed current shortcomings in data collection and provided useful suggestions for future research in the topic.

CERTAIN’sSafe and Sound collaborative met in the afternoon to discuss its progress improving use and quality of ultrasound in children with appendicitis. Moderated by CERTAIN fellow Dr. Meera Kotagal, the group discussed existing challenges and brainstormed strategies and opportunities for expanding Safe and Sound across Washington State.

An important component of CERTAIN's work with patients was highlighted by Senior Researcher Dr. Danielle Lavallee during the Spine Forum, as she reviewed how patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are being captured in the CERTAIN Hub within participating spine clinics. CERTAIN recognizes the value in understanding and incorporating the patient perspective in clinical care, and the CERTAIN Hub is a tool to help gather PROs to inform healthcare and research. Find out more about how CERTAIN is supporting collaboration between patients, researchers, and clinician communities at the Patient Voices website.

By combining comparative effectiveness research and patient-centered approaches with the power of the data provided by SCOAP's network of hospitals, CERTAIN is creating a learning healthcare system in Washington State that is actively improving the quality, effectiveness, and safety of surgical and interventional care.


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