Dr. Jeff Kullgren is a Research Scientist in the Center for Clinical Management Research at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. Dr.
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Research has been the focus and the strength of the faculty members affiliated with CBSSM. Researchers have pursued groundbreaking investigations topics such as:
- doctor-patient communication
- psychological adaptation to disability
- health care rationing
- social cognition
- decision aids to communicate risk
- informed consent
- deliberative democracy
An important mission of CBSSM is to extend the ethics education medical students receive at the University of Michigan. Our current curriculum efforts are focused on enriching the existing curriculum and on making instruction on medical ethics for undergraduate medical students at UM more systematic and focused. Our goal is to increase medical student interest in ethics and their competence in recognizing and resolving ethical issues. Our strategy is to weave ethics into the curriculum throughout the 4 years of training in a way that allows students to build upon what they know of ethical theory and to apply that knowledge to their clinical practice. Additionally, given CBSSM faculty expertise, our aim is to create novel ethics curriculum components that incorporate our empirical work in bioethics and our particular expertise in decision science.
CBSSM scholars perform the basic and applied scientific research that will improve health care policy and practice, to benefit patients and their families, health care providers, third-party payers, policy makers, and the general public. In our Decision of the Month web feature, we turn a recent research finding into an interactive decision that a patient or a policy maker might face.
PROGRAM IN CLINICAL ETHICS
The Program in Clinical Ethics within CBSSM represents an expansion of existing services designed to promote a culture of patient-centered excellence by developing a comprehensive set of ethics-related activities. The aims of this program are to: liaise with and provide support to the adult and pediatrics ethics committees; streamline clinical ethics consultation; assist with ethics-related policy development on a regular and proactive basis; organize and administer structured educational programs in clinical ethics; and coordinate empiric research with relevance to clinical ethics within CBSSM.
Haoyang Yan, graduate student in psychology, will be seeking feedback on three experiments (with a decision quality scale construction), which aim to examine pediatric tracheotomy decision effectiveness resulting from various decision making techniques.
Masahito Jimbo is Professor of Family Medicine and Urology at the University of Michigan. Having worked as a family physician in both urban (Philadelphia) and rural (North Carolina) underserved areas, he has first-hand knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by clinicians and healthcare institutions to be successful in providing patient care that is personal, comprehensive, efficient and timely. Initially trained in basic laboratory research, having obtained his MD and PhD degrees at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, Dr.
Funded by NIH: National Cancer Institute
Funding Years: 2008-2014
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among men, and thousands of men must make treatment decisions every year. Decision making for localized prostate cancer is especially challenging as clinical trials have shown that the standard treatment options of active surveillance, surgery and radiation are comparable in terms of survival. Thus, treatment for prostate cancer is a preference-sensitive decision, with the best choice depending in part on patient attitudes towards the risks and benefits of treatment alternatives. Therefore, ideally the treatment decision will be made with full consideration of patient preferences. As such, it is recommended that patients and their physicians discuss any preferences patients have that might be relevant to the treatment decision. This dialogue is complicated by patients’ lack of experience with sharing in these types of decisions. Additionally, physicians often use medical jargon, making it more difficult for patients to understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Research is needed to determine the best methods for helping patients communicate their preferences to their physicians so that patient values hold considerable weight in treatment decisions.
The goals of this study are two-fold:
- To demonstrate to patients some of the issues that might arise during their diagnosis visit that may prevent them from communicating preferences to physicians.
- To provide solutions that would enable greater patient participation in medical decision making.
PI(s): Angela Fagerlin, PhD and Peter A. Ubel, MD
Co-I(s): John T. Wei, MD; Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD; Margaret Holmes-Rovner, PhD; James Tulsky, MD; Stewart Alexander, PhD
Parent grant: Michigan Center for Health Communication Research II
Target specific oral anticoagulants (TSOAC)s including dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban represent novel alternatives to vitamin K antagonists. These medications provide an attractive choice for both physicians and patients alike due to their predictable pharmacokinetics, fixed-dose regimens, lack of routine monitoring, and fewer drug-drug interactions as compared to warfarin. However, these anticoagulants are not without their own unique features and risks, including required dose adjustments for patient specific factors such as renal function, weight, and age, and lack of a routine monitoring parameter to follow patient adherence with therapy. In addition, the cost of TSOACs and the growing number of indications they are currently approved for makes ensuring affordability as well as the correct dosage based on indication for therapy extremely important.
PI(s): Geoffrey Barnes
Co-I(s): Emily Ashjian
Funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs
Funding Years: 2007-2012
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death among men in the United States, and accounts for 29% of all cancers diagnosed in men. Furthermore, approximately one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Thus, 17% of male Veterans will be asked to make a decision about the treatment of their prostate cancer. The burden of this disease is further magnified when one considers that most patients will live for years following their diagnosis and with any adverse effects of therapy. Given that there have been no clinical trials showing that any prostate cancer treatment produces an increased likelihood of survival; men are asked to actively participate in treatment decisions. Previous research has revealed that men are often uninformed about their prostate cancer, particularly African American men and men with lower educational attainment. Thus, it is critical to develop and test decision aids that can help all men (especially men with low literacy skills) make an informed decision. The goal of the study was to compare the impact of a plain language decision aid (DA) to a conventional DA on prostate cancer patients’ decision making experience and communication with their physician.
PI(s): Angela Fagerlin, PhD and Peter A. Ubel, MD
Co-I(s): Khaled Hafez, MD; Bruce Ling, MD; Jeffrey Gingrich, MD; Sara Knight, PhD; Phillip Walther, MD; Margaret Holmes-Rovner, PhD; James Tulsky, MD; Stewart Alexander, PhD
Tell us how you'd respond to the results of a blood test for fetal chromosomal problems. And find out how your response compares with that of participants in a national survey.
Consider the following
Imagine that you are four months pregnant. You and your partner have talked with your doctor about prenatal screening tests for your fetus. Based on your family history and personal medical history, your doctor has told you that you're at low risk (2 in 1000) of having a fetus with chromosomal problems. Chromosomal problems include such conditions as Down Syndrome. In talking further with your doctor, you decide to have a routine blood test for chromosomal problems in your fetus. This test will help to give you a better estimate of the chance that your fetus would have a chromosomal problem.
Your doctor tells you that the results of this blood test have come back "abnormal." She clarifies that the blood test showed that your risk of fetal chromosomal problems is about 5 in 1000, which is higher than the number she had told you before the test. She next asks if you are interested in amniocentesis, a medical procedure in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is extracted from the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus. This procedure can tell you for sure whether or not the fetus has chromosomal problems. However, amniocentesis has its own risks. Your doctor explains that the risk of miscarriage as a result of amniocentesis may be as high as 5 in 1000.
- Definitely No
- Probably No
- Probably Yes
- Definitely Yes
How do your answers compare?
Many women decide to go ahead and have amniocentesis. There are two things in this scenario that could influence women's decisions about amniocentesis. First, the doctor described the test as "abnormal", a label that may increase worry about the possibility that the fetus would have a chromosomal problem. Second, the risk estimate of 5 in 1000 was higher than the original estimate of 2 in 1000, which also may increase concern.
CBDSM researchers, led by Brian Zikmund-Fisher, wanted to know how much influence labels such as "abnormal", "normal", "positive", or "negative" might have on people's decisions in situations like the one described above. To test this, they gave one group of women a scenario just like the one you read. In this scenario, the test results were described as either "abnormal" or "positive" before the risk estimate of 5 in 1000 was given. A second group of women read the same scenario, but in their scenario, the doctor presented only the numeric risk estimate, without any label.
Women whose test results were introduced using a qualitative label ("positive/abnormal") were significantly more worried - and significantly more likely to choose to have amniocentesis - than women who were told only the numeric risk estimate, without any label. Note that all of the women in this survey were told that they had the same final risk: 5 in 1000. The decision of the women in each group should have been the same, but adding that one qualitative label significantly changed what the women in the study decided to do.
Interestingly, the CBDSM researchers also found a reverse effect when test results were introduced with the labels "negative" or "normal." These labels tended to make women less worried and less likely to have amniocentesis than women in a comparison group. Again, these results show that adding a one-sentence introduction with a qualitative label could significantly change people's decisions.
Read the article:
Does labeling prenatal screening test results as negative or positive affect a woman's responses?
Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Fagerlin A, Keeton K, Ubel PA. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2007;197(5):528.e1-528.e6.