Effort to “nudge” doctor’s adoption of evidence-based clinical practice receives NIH support

MANHASSET, NY – Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Assistant Professor and Junior Faculty Researcher Safiya Richardson, MD, has been awarded a five-year, $850,000 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to support her work in creating tools that help doctors make evidence-based clinical decisions.

The lack of evidenced-based clinical practice is responsible for a third of hospital deaths and a loss of almost $380 billion each year. Researchers believe these deaths could be avoided with the development of evidence based health information technology.

“We are focusing on a significant problem for the health of the nation, the gap between usual and evidence-based clinical practice,” said Dr. Richardson. “Our research indicates that new information technology coupled with tangible behavioral science theory can help mitigate this issue.”

However, it is estimated that adoption of this health information technology is only at 10 percent. Dr. Richardson aims to combat this low adoption rate by testing the concept of a “nudge” – a behavioral science tool that uses positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as a non-forced methodology to influence clinical decision making.

In its initial phase, Dr. Richardson, under the mentorship of Tom McGinn, MD, professor in Feinstein Institute’s Center for Health Innovations and Outcomes Research, will develop various tool prototypes and test these with doctors. The grant also includes funding for career development activities, including formal training in health informatics, behavioral science, mixed methods and clinical trial design.

“NIH recognition of Dr. Richardson’s research highlights the important advances in health information technology and behavior sciences stemming from the Feinstein Institute and Northwell, and our commitment to improving clinical outcomes through research,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.

About the Feinstein Institute

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the Feinstein Institute includes 4,000 researchers and staff who are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit FeinsteinInstitute.org.

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David Robbins