OHSU

Focus on Research May 2014

Frontiers of Health Care: A Blog to Disseminate Real-Time Research Findings

 Sonja Likumahuwa, MID, MPH
Sonja Likumahuwa, MID, MPH
 Heather Angier, MPH
Heather Angier, MPH
By Sonja Likumahuwa, MID, MPH; Jill Arkind, MPH; Erika Cottrell, MPA; Heather Angier, MPH

Traditional strategies for disseminating research results (i.e., conference presentations and peer-reviewed journal articles) can take years to be published and have limited audiences. This has led to an enormous gap between health care quality knowledge and policy and practice implementation. While peer-reviewed publications will never be completely replaced, ‘alternative’ communication strategies are needed to reach new audiences in real-time. The Department of Family Medicine is using several alternative communication strategies (e.g., blog posts, tweets). This article will highlight one such strategy, The Frontiers of Health Care blog (www.frontiersofhealthcare.com).  

The blog is a collaboration between OCHIN, a non-profit organization that provides health information technology to community health centers around the nation, and the Oregon Health & Science University Department of Family Medicine. The goal of the blog is to report early findings and real-time experiences of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded study using mixed methods to evaluate payment reform in Oregon. This communication strategy is important because of its potential to inform large audiences in a timely manner. Launched in December 2013, blog entries are posted about twice per month. Blog content is disseminated via social media and partner websites. 

Led by Erika Cottrell, PhD, OHSU OB/Gyn; Deborah Cohen, PhD; and Jennifer DeVoe, MD, DPhil, the research team is studying how changes in payment reform, known as Alternative Payment Methodology (APM), impact the delivery of primary care in safety-net populations. Oregon’s APM demonstration project is a ‘natural experiment’ that will allow us to understand the impact of changing the way clinics and providers are paid to deliver care. Bloggers include leaders and staff of the clinics participating in the demonstration, as well as policy makers, patients, researchers and other stakeholders.  

The Frontiers of Health Care blog was created to share real-time insights and ‘lessons learned’. Additionally, we hope it will encourage discussion between those with experience implementing such transformations and those who are eager to start the journey. We will feature posts about health care transformation efforts, specifically in the area of payment reform, along with relevant health transformation news. The content will be relevant to ongoing transformations happening in primary care settings across the country. Over the next year, Health Affairs will regularly feature original content from Frontiers of Health Care on its blog, thereby promoting it to a broader national readership. We believe this project blog will augment traditional communication strategies and reach an audience not typically exposed to research findings.

We look forward to lively discussion, input and collaboration from across the nation, and encourage you to let us know what you think!