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My Interview with Melida from the ICN Exchange Team



Melida, can you give us a professional snapshot of who you are?

I have an elevator speech, “My name is Melida, I am passionate about Information and Knowledge Management & Knowledge Creation within research communities.  I believe good data makes all the difference.”  I also have a professional identity:  Melida Busch, MLIS, and Director of Cincinnati Children’s Edward L. Pratt Research Library, of which I am proud. I work with the @ICNExchange team which provides me the pleasure of being connected to the ImproveCareNow community.



What will you be sharing at the Community Conference?
My colleague Sheryl Sheldon and I will be presenting on the use of the ICN Exchange as an empowering tool for all members of ICN to “share seamlessly and steal shamelessly”. The ICN community produces a lot of tools and resources, but until we use them, share them and improve them, they really aren’t very meaningful. We’re hoping to make our break-out session very practical, i.e. “This is how you use the ICN Exchange”, while reminding folks that it’s them and not the tools that make the ICN Exchange powerful. Hence the name for the session:  “You are How Data Becomes Knowledge”…

How does this session/focus pertain to parents?  Or how can parents use the information as part of our mission to help improve care.
Obviously partnering with patients and parents is a key tenant within the ImproveCareNow community. I think increasing both the amount and the diversity of the tools, resources and stories that patients and parents share on the ICN Exchange will have a direct impact on the improvement of care in the treatment of children with chronic IBD throughout the network.

Also, sharing in the commons increases your sphere of influence, not only in the potential number of people reached, but also in the ability of those whom you do not currently know to find your contributions later. You have the ability to make a big difference in your community long term, with what feels like such a small action.



 


Lessons from the Field: Making the Pitch

[Editor's note: This update was shared by engagement team member Elizabeth Monti Sullivan]


Having the opportunity to represent ImproveCareNow at the recent Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center IBD Education Day gave me a firsthand view of the challenges and opportunities associated with communicating about our Network. While my ImproveCareNow Engagement and Leadership campaign team partners and I had a plan for our time at the information fair, we learned that you can never come too prepared to tell the story of this dynamic community!

We learned that building awareness and pitching involvement in ImproveCareNow to potential partners can be challenging at first, even for those of us who know a lot about the Network. And if we struggle with telling the ICN story, it must be even more challenging for our colleagues in the Network's 70+ care centers. How well can they explain ICN and its objectives? Are we sending a clear and consistent message? And why can it be so tricky to give a clear picture of ICN?

We know that ImproveCareNow is an intricate web of people, activities, and platforms. We are staff & leaders, volunteers, families, patients, sponsors, partners, clinicians, and researchers. We are many people working on many projects. You might find us talking about social media platforms and forums, quality improvement, awareness campaigns, research studies, work groups, goals and metrics, and many other things. With all of this constant activity taking place, how can we be sure we are effectively articulating who we are in ways that resonate with all of our partners?

Here is where I like to start: What we know is that ImproveCareNow centers have together increased the remission rate for registered kids with IBD from 55% to nearly 80% without using new medications. Their success is rooted in the application of quality improvement methodologies, seamless sharing of lessons learned, and a relentless focus on data that tell the story of the patients’ disease course. We know that we want to elevate and even more closely incorporate patient and family voices into the process of improving care. We are bringing together many people who focus on many different things, but all our activities share one common goal: we want to continue to be the cure for waiting for the cure. We want to outsmart IBD together!

We have heard the voices of parents and patients who see the value of collaborative improvement and are pushing us further, faster as we pursue this goal together.

Tell us what ICN means to you and how you want to be involved.

ICN Engagement Campaign

Recently, ImproveCareNow has been training participating care centers to develop and empower leaders at the center level. With this training, ImproveCareNow will have an opportunity to deepen its impact and extend its reach by focusing on equipping the whole community with the skills, knowledge and tools they need to take ownership of ImproveCareNow’s work at the local level. We are happy to announce that the first round of centers have almost completed a five-module training series and that we are about to begin rolling out training to the next group of centers!


Christian joins the Patient Advisory Council

PAC Member Christian HansenMy name is Christian Hanson and I am a sophomore at Brown University. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age ten and receive Remicade infusions at Boys Town Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. While Crohn’s so often feels like a heavy burden, there have been fleeting moments where my condition feels more like a blessing: Through this disease I have discovered a network of heroes who have overcome the trials of IBD and have been surrounded by a caring and compassionate network that spans the United States. I am joining the Patient Advocacy Council because I believe in their mission to magnify the voices of patients and advocate for those who cannot. I will be helping share, via CIRCLE eNewsletter, updates about the PAC and various projects related to patient engagement active throughout the ImproveCareNow Network. Feel free to contact me at pac@improvecarenow.org if you would like to learn more about the PAC or would like to speak with me regarding my personal experiences.


All the best,
Christian Hanson


What is Smart Patients? And why are we partnering?

Smart Patients logoThe team at Smart Patients has impressed us here at ImproveCareNow. They have proven themselves as experts in creating a culture and a space for generous, information-rich sharing which gives people living with chronic illnesses like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD) a safe place to learn and share.

There are many social networks and online communities for IBD, but we have chosen to partner with the Smart Patients team because their custom-built, disease-specific forums offer a truly safe, warm and engaging experience for users. Smart Patients also offers conversation tagging, and clearly defined community norms, which means community members are highly likely to find the answers they need and highly unlikely to be trolled. And because the conversations are arranged using tags and completely searchable, you can always find what you’re looking for.

The Smart Patients team and ImproveCareNow have partnered to create an online IBD community that is supportive and also powerful. The Smart Patients IBD community has the power to improve health and health care systems through patient and family peer-to-peer learning.

Join the Smart Patients community for IBD today. Together, we can outsmart IBD!


Using ICN Data to Investigate Health Disparities in Children and Teens with Crohn's Disease

[Editor's note: One of the unique aspects of research in a large network such as ImproveCareNow (ICN) is the opportunity for collaboration.  Jennifer Dotson and Michele Cho both submitted protocols to the ICN Research Committee to study racial disparities in pediatric patients with IBD.  Both are young eager investigators.  The Research Committee helped make a connection, and the result has been the start of important collaborative research utilizing the ICN2 registry.  This work exemplifies the power of the ICN network: the power of people and the power of data.  I hope you enjoy reading about the outcomes of their work.  Steve Steiner, Co-Chair, ICN Research Committee]




Kids in a circle on the grassUsing ICN Data to Investigate Health Disparities in Children and Teens with Crohn's Disease

 

By Jennifer L. Dotson, MD, MPH and Michele Cho, MD

 

Health care differences due to race have been shown to contribute to suboptimal healthcare outcomes for minorities and low-income groups. Identifying differences among those at-risk is an essential step to improve healthcare delivery and ultimately outcomes, and to reduce costs for all patients. For our study, we wanted to look at racial differences during the initial presentation and medical management of children and teens with Crohn's disease. Specifically, we wanted to determine if there were differences in disease severity and treatment with medications between Black and White children at time of diagnosis. The ImproveCareNow (ICN) network gave us the opportunity to look at a large group of patients from across the country and was a valuable tool in facilitating this work. ICN contains data collected at the time of outpatient clinic visits and is able to track patients over time. Data was pulled from the ICN database for all patients under 21 years of age with clinic visit between September 2006 and October 2014. We then narrowed the list of patients by including only those that had a visit within 90 days of their initial Crohn’s diagnosis.

 

We are in the early stage of this study and would like to share some of our preliminary results.

 

There were 1728 patients (Black=222 (13%), White=1506 (87%)) from 46 sites included. The average age was 13 years and 62% were male. Black children had more Medicaid insurance (39% vs. 10%) than White children. There were no differences by nutritional status, body mass index, or growth status. There was no difference in disease activity based on the short Pediatric Crohn’s Disease Activity Index, however Black children had more severe disease based on Physician Global Assessment. 0.9% of Black children had perianal disease as compared to 0.5% of White children. Anti-TNFα therapy (medications such as Remicade or Humira) was more commonly prescribed for Black children (17% vs. 11%).

 

Racial and socioeconomic disparities have the potential to impact healthcare delivery and Crohn’s disease outcomes. This study identified several differences among newly diagnosed children and teens with Crohn’s within an outpatient quality improvement network. Specifically, Black children were more likely to receive treatment with anti-TNFα therapy than White children. This difference does not appear to be explained by differences in age, growth, nutrition, perianal disease or standardized disease severity scores, but rather by subjective assessment of disease severity and/or consideration of additional information such as endoscopic appearance that is not accounted for by the short Pediatric Crohn’s Disease Activity Index.

 

ICN helped make this research project a reality by providing a rich data set and facilitating a successful collaboration of two young physician scientists. Realizing we had similar research interests in health disparities, we decided to combine our efforts and focus on a single, large project together. We are delighted to be working together on this, along with our mentor team, and are thankful for the encouragement by the ICN network.

 

Jennifer L. Dotson, MD, MPH is a pediatric gastroenterologist and research studying racial disaprities in IBD care using the ImproveCareNow registry.Jennifer Dotson, MD, MPH, is a pediatric gastroenterologist and principal investigator in the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio. She conducts clinical research focusing on improving healthcare delivery and reducing healthcare disparities, and outcomes-based research in children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Her interests are studying hardships and barriers to care, and assessing potential health system solutions from the patient/caregiver perspective that impact clinical outcomes for children with IBD. When she is not taking care of patients and conducting research, she loves traveling with her family and spending time doing activities outdoors (hiking, kayaking, etc.).

 

Michele Cho, MD is a pediatric gastroenterology and research studying racial disaprities in pediatric IBD care using the ImproveCareNow registry.Michele Cho, MD, is a pediatric gastroenterologist working in the greater Chicago area. She is part of the Center for Children’s Digestive Health and is the physician lead for ICN at her site at the Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, IL. Outside of work, she enjoys running and participating in other outdoor activities. She is looking forward to summertime in Chicago.


Michael Seid #myICN

Michael Seid supports ICN for his daughter.If you're a parent, you know. You know what you'd do for your kids. If your child is diagnosed with a chronic illness, you discover that you'd do even more.  Until a cure is found, part of what you'll have to do is work closely with your child's doctor and care team. This can be hard and intimidating but everyone knows the best care comes from everyone partnering together – communicating honestly, sharing the work, pushing each other towards the goal.

 

Have you seen our health care system? It doesn't always work that way. But imagine if every interaction with your child's care team felt exactly like that – like you were part of the best team in the world. And your team had access to knowledge and wisdom from other best teams in the world. World class teams networked together to make things better for your child and all kids who suffer? That's what ICN is building. And you know what's even better? Having the opportunity to work with ICN to make this happen. That's why I'm part of ICN – we're the cure for waiting for the cure.


Notes from the Field - The ICN Engagement Campaign

What does an engagement campaign have to do with a healthcare quality improvement network? ImproveCareNow leaders were wondering the exact same thing before we began learning from our friends at 270 Strategies (experts in both political and issue campaigns!) Their team is teaching us how to apply successful campaign strategies to engage a large and diverse community of people in helping kids with IBD get better, now. Quite simply, ImproveCareNow invites clinicians, parents, patients, researchers, and others to learn about our work and to lend their time, talents, and expertise so together we can learn and find innovative new ways to outsmart IBD. And right now we’re learning how to make it easy for everyone to connect with ImproveCareNow in the ways that work best for them and ensure we can harness and value each person’s unique and generous contributions - making it meaningful and rewarding to be a part of our community.

ICN is made up of many faces. This slide shows a just a few of them.In ImproveCareNow we always start with a small test. To that end six of our centers are diving in as campaign pilot centers. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Levine Children’s Hospital, and the University of Michigan CS Mott Children’s Hospital are getting some training, rolling up their sleeves, and re-framing what an ICN IBD team looks and feels like. You will hear more about their journeys in the coming months as they build momentum and start sharing what they have learned with the rest of the community. In the meantime, we wanted to highlight some of the work underway in the early days of the campaign so that you can begin to learn with us now:

Snowflakes and ImproveCareNow


Campaign pilot centers are beginning to reframe their ICN teams with the “snowflake model” in mind. The snowflake model is a way of organizing people that decentralizes leadership and increases two-way communication. Basically it makes it easier for everyone to share the work and contribute to the success. These centers have found that creating a snowflake does not necessarily mean more work for the existing team, rather, it often involves reassigning people in ways that make it easier to get existing work done more efficiently.

This slide shows a diagram of what a snowflake staffing model would look like at an ICN Care Center.

“Hard ask?” – that sounds hard!


As part of their training, the participating centers are learning that it’s OK to be really direct about what they need from potential partners. It is lot easier to say no when the ask is soft and non-specific. So rather than saying “Umm…I was thinking maybe you could help us out somehow in the next few months,” they are looking for ways to be very concrete when asking for help, “Please come to our QI meeting next Tuesday. We really need your input on our new diagnosis process.” Coordinator Cori Davis tweeted about her first hard ask. The answer was YES!

Everyone’s story matters, and is important, and can change someone else's story.


More than ever, we are seeing how stories are key to helping potential partners understand what ImproveCareNow is all about and how they can fill important gaps in the community. Our Spring Community Conference is just around the corner and we are seeing some inspiring stories as part of the pre-work, stories that make very clear just how much our Network attracts those who want to join in and become a part of our success.

Elizabeth Monti shares her ICN story.

What this means to patients and families.


We know that growing our community will only make us stronger…indeed, the theme of our Spring Community Conference is “Strength in Our Numbers”! In her beautifully written LOOP post ‘Breaking a Promise’ Sami Kennedy really drove this point home. She reminded us why being part of ImproveCareNow is important and empowering for individuals, just as it is important to the whole community. As she says, “I have been welcomed into an environment where I am encouraged to not only sit at the table, but also to stand up and address the whole room.” Sami and Jennie

Meanwhile, we still have a lot to learn.


As the campaign unfolds, the ImproveCareNow leadership team knows it has an enormous responsibility to continue to ensure the network’s success, and to help develop a system that offers tools and opportunities for co-producing health and real partnerships. And we will be the first to admit, we have a lot to learn! We need your input as we go. We want to have open, transparent discussions about the challenges and opportunities ahead so we hope to engage more of you on twitter and other social media venues to take part in an ongoing dialogue between Community Conferences and webinars. You can follow @myers3411, @michaelseid11, @PeterAMargolis, and @improvecarenow on twitter and weigh in with your feedback and concerns as we build a bigger, better community together.

Sarah Myers tweets about the work of co-producing the conference agenda for the Spring 2015 Community Conference (#ICNCC15S)


Breaking a Promise

When Jennie and I applied to represent the Patient Advisory Council for ImproveCareNow as PAC Scholars in 2012, we were asked to each write an essay on our expectations and goals. I read mine over in December before I jumped on a plane to Orlando - more on that later.

I wrote in my essay, way back in 2012, a list of promises I would keep if I could just please go to a Learning Session. Paramount on that list was this: "I will listen more than I will speak." Because that's what patients do, right? I had the distinct feeling that I would be an intruder in a place where patients don't belong - and let me be clear that no one in ImproveCareNow made me feel this way; my stereotyped idea of what it meant to be a patient did.

"I will listen more than I will speak." This was my perception: it was okay for patients to sit at the table. To sit, to listen, but to speak? How could I? I was nineteen. I was a patient. What could I possibly have to share?

There is a time for listening, absolutely. But there is also a time for speaking - for all to speak. I had no concept of that as a young patient. I couldn't imagine myself having any sort of expertise that would help improve the healthcare system, even as I navigated it constantly. I figured I'd be there as an observer, to bring back insights to share with other patients about ImproveCareNow's work to help kids recover from, and more so, avoid flares of their IBD. Observer is the word I would have chosen to describe my responsibilities there.

IMG_2301 PAC Co-Chairs, then PAC Scholars, Jennie David (left) and Sami Kennedy (right) at their first ImproveCareNow Learning Session, October 2012.

Since my first Learning Session in the fall of 2012, I have been to five more. At each of them I have listened with a tape recorder running in my mind every second of every day, but I have also come home with a hoarse voice. Observer? No. I am so much more. No one at the Learning Session is just an observer - whether a long-time veteran or a special guest. Look at the buzz generated on Twitter (while you're at it, check out #icncc15s!) if you don't believe me.

I love to tell the story from my second Learning Session. To give you some context I am still nineteen here, and I've never before presented anything, anywhere, outside of a classroom. I was involved in a Q&A after a presentation I co-led with a physician and psychologist on medication adherence. A psychologist, physician, and patient together giving a presentation - I couldn't have imagined that just six months earlier! A physician in the audience posed a question to me regarding how I felt adherence could be effectively encouraged in patients my age. I gave my best answer, and he responded with his opinion based on his experiences, which happened not to be congruent with mine. We conversed for a few minutes; others chimed in. It was fascinating, thrilling, magical; I don't know if I can point to a better real-life definition of active collaboration.

After the session, this same physician hurried up to me at the podium. "I'm sorry," he said.

Wait, he said what?!

"I'm sorry," he said.

I asked him to clarify, very confused, and he explained that he worried he had made me uncomfortable by challenging my opinion as a patient. In fact, he had done just the opposite. This was my ImproveCareNow "lightbulb" moment.

Screen shot 2013-10-25 at 2.42.09 PM Sami (left) with former PAC Chair Jill (right) and ImproveCareNow project coordinator Molly (center) at the Spring 2013 Learning Session.

I have been asked countless times: how did you become who you are, a young patient leader? How do we get our patients to be like you? I am not sure this is the question we should be asking - because it assumes I am extraordinary. I know I am different; I have done things few other patients my age have - but it is not me that is extraordinary. I have been welcomed into an environment where I am encouraged to not only sit at the table, but also to stand up and address the whole room.

ImproveCareNow is an extraordinary community - a community with an ever-growing number of parents and patients being handed the mic - being asked to do things that were never before possible. This physician hadn't made me uncomfortable, no, not at all - he had made me comfortable. Our conversation erased all doubt from my mind that I was there for show; I was there for the same reason as him.

I wish I could convey to you how incredible that felt - and how sad I feel in retrospect that feeling included, truly included, had to feel incredible because it was so unusual.

I told that very story twice in 2014 to two very amazing audiences - first, to executives from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and, second, to healthcare leaders and learners at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement National Forum - the reason I took that flight to Orlando. I presented the Patient Advisory Council to each and, in each case, asked them to imagine collaborating with patients. I told them about the promise I made before my very first Learning Session, and how I have broken it over and over again.

IHI Conference Dec 9 2014 - Sami presentation photo Sami presenting the PAC at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement National Forum in December 2014.

There is a time for listening, and there is a time for speaking. For all to speak, and all to listen.

I found out in the fall I've been accepted to medical school, and I'm still trying to figure out what it will mean for me to be both a patient advocate and a medical student. But here is what I do know: I can't really imagine myself practicing in a system without ImproveCareNow and networks like it that I hope will be just as successful for other conditions. I want to be a physician who makes my younger self proud. One who doesn't just repair broken things, but creates things that are better. One who is brave enough to say and show that everyone has expertise, taking patient and family engagement to the places ImproveCareNow has, where it can be frightening to go. I see networks following in the footsteps of ImproveCareNow as the foundation of how I hope to practice - and how I have to practice. This is not only creating health for kids with IBD; this is making the whole system healthier.

Of course I am scared as I figure out a new set of expectations - but, this time, I don't expect to be silent.


#ICNCC15S

https://twitter.com/Sarituno/status/560137404838051840


The future of IBD research is in your hands

ImproveCareNow has partnered with Patient PrioritiesThe goal of medical research is to find answers that will improve the lives of patients. But how can we be sure the answers really matter if we don’t ask patients what they want and need to know?

ImproveCareNow is committed to supporting research that represents patient and family perspectives. As part of our funding from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, we are working with leading health care researchers from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Katherine Bevans, PhD and Chris Forrest, MD, PhD (selected publications by Dr. Forrest) to use new ways to engage everyone in the IBD community in setting our direction for learning. They have created a website called Patient Priorities to find out what YOU want and need to know about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (IBD). You don’t need any research experience to participate.

You will be asked to recall moments during your/your child’s diagnosis and/or treatment when you wanted more information, or had questions that were not answered. Maybe you had questions when comparing two treatment options, or making the decision to end a particular treatment. Any difficult moment when you needed more clarity and information is important for researchers to know about.

Responses to the 10-minute survey are anonymous and will be grouped with many other responses to develop a list of “Learning Objectives.”  Some Learning Objectives may be answered using existing research. Where there is good research to answer common questions, ImproveCareNow will be making more tools and resources for families available through care centers and in our online communities: Facebook, Twitter, here on LOOP, CIRCLE, the ICN Exchange and Smart Patients. Those Learning Objectives that are unanswered and require more research will be added to the ImproveCareNow research agenda.

We’ve heard from many patients with IBD and their parents. It would be great to hear from many more to be sure the Learning Objectives really represent a wide variety of experiences.

Here’s your survey: http://bit.ly/lrnobjs

This is an important opportunity for us to shape the future of IBD research. We will be sharing our results and what we’ve learned along the way, so you can see how we’re outsmarting IBD together.


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