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Department of Family Medicine, VCU Medical Center, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Family Medicine and Population Health Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center

VCU Department of Family Medicine


Active projects

Researchers reviewing a mapThe following projects represent the current and ongoing Department of Family Medicine and Population Health
research initiatives:

It is the policy of the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health not to accept funding for its research program from the tobacco industry.


MyOwnHealthReport: Primary Care Based Support for Patient-Reported Health Behavior and Psychosocial Issues

Start Date: November 2012
Principal Investigator: Alexander H. Krist, MD, MPH
Sponsor: National Cancer Institute (NCI)/National Institutes of Health (NIH)

VCU serves as the Coordinating Center for this national study of a new pragmatic, patient-centered primary care implementation system focused on health behaviors and psychosocial issues in primary care.

See MOHR Executive Summary for more information.

Understanding Patient Preferences for Informed Decision-Making

Start Date: October 2012
Principal Investigator: Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH
Sponsor: Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)

The purpose of this project is to explore patients' preferred approach to cancer screening using an interactive website about informed decision-making (IDM) preferences, then to study the assistance offered by clinicians, its congruence with the patient's preferences, and the effect of website exposure on the conversation and decision outcomes.

Engaging Vulnerable Consumers in Developing Useful Public Healthcare Reports

Start Date: September 2012
Principal Investigator: Daniel R. Longo, ScD
Sponsor: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Our objective is to build the scientific base for effective public reporting of healthcare quality by examining the nature, type and dissemination of public reports by engaging consumers in focus groups to identify their needs in healthcare decision-making.  Consistent with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, that aims to improve dissemination of measure of healthcare quality and resource use and as identified in AHRQ’s request for applications, we intend to fill two of the major gaps in the public reporting evidence base identified through the engagement of subgroups of AHRQ’s priority populations and Medicare beneficiaries as they relate to study consumer views of the design, content, and dissemination of public reports. We intend to focus on the Medicare population with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, because previous cognitive interviews and focus groups indicate that consumers want relevant information, such as physician or hospital performance for patients with similar health conditions. Accordingly, the diabetic population is more likely, than an apparently healthy population, to have a greater need to learn about their disease, as self-management is vital to living well.  Further, because of the variation among ethnic and racial populations relative to health information needs, we specifically target African Americans, Latinos, and White populations, aged 65 to 85, who are non-institutionalized, Medicare beneficiaries.  Data indicate the increasing burden of diabetes with age, a higher incidence in African Americans, as well as great disparities in African Americans and Latinos in Virginia and nationally.

Our specific study aims are to determine:

  • How public reports can be designed to address the varying information needs of vulnerable populations as they make decisions for their personal healthcare including selection of healthcare providers – both physicians and hospitals.
  • How the content, design and dissemination of public reports can best reflect meaningful information that consumers would actually use in their personal decision-making.

Study Design
Our qualitative study design proposes two rounds of focus groups. The first round will focus on Aim 1 and the results will be used by project staff together with Virginia Health Information (VHI), developer of Virginia consumer reports, to develop public report templates and to identify themes, both of which will be relevant in the design of the round two focus groups, which will focus on Aim 2. Final study results will be used by VHI to develop a final public report to Virginia Medicare beneficiaries on type 2 diabetes; further we will disseminate project findings with the assistance of our national advisory committee to ensure wide scale dissemination beyond Virginia.

The Primary Care Team: Learning from Effective Practices

Start Date: February 2012
Principal Investigators: Rebecca S. Etz, PhD (VCU), Edward H. Wagner, MD, MPH (Group Health)
Sponsor: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, through Group Health Research Institute

The goal of the project is to identify and evaluate 30 innovative exemplar primary care practices across the country, using qualitative and quantitative analyses. These analyses will then inform the development of a toolkit to disseminate ideas and resources that may improve the quality of primary healthcare in the US.

Using Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare Quality in Primary Care Practices and in Transitions Between Care Settings

Start Date: September 15, 2010
Principal Investigator: Alexander H. Krist, MD, MPH
Sponsor: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)