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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

BU: VA Honors Professor for Research Paper

Dr. Rani Elwy, associate professor of health law, policy & management at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), has received the 2017 Best Research Paper of the Year Award from the Department of Veteran Affair (VA)’s Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D).

[Photo: Dr. Rani Elwy]

The annual award honors a single article or collection of articles resulting from one or more investigations funded by HSR&D or QUERI, the VA Quality Enhancement Research Initiative. Dr. Elwy is part of HSR&D’s Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR) in Boston and Bedford, Massachusetts.

The article, “Surgeons’ Disclosures of Clinical Adverse Events,” assessed surgeons’ reports of disclosure of adverse events and aspects of their experiences with the disclosure process. Surgeons representing 12 specialties at three VA medical centers completed a web-based survey. Most surgeons reported using five of the eight recommended disclosure items in their conversations with veterans and their families.

Dr. Elwy’s team found that surgeons who were less likely to apologize to patients, discuss preventability of the adverse event, or discuss how recurrences of the event could have been prevented were more negatively affected by disclosure. The study’s findings suggest that quality improvement efforts focused on recognizing the association between disclosure and surgeons’ well-being may help sustain open disclosure policies.

According to a VA release, the article was one of the top 10 downloaded articles in JAMA Surgery in 2016 and was mentioned in 45 news stories from 20 news outlets, including CBS News and the Washington Post. The study was also a key part of internal VA discussions toward moving disclosure from a risk management perspective to a patient safety perspective.

Article co-authors were Dr. Barbara Bokhour, an associate professor of health law, policy & management at BUSPH, and Dr. Kamal Itani, a professor of surgery at the School of Medicine at Boston University.

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