Regenstrief scientist wins award for translating medical decision-making research into practice

Children

The Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) awarded Regenstrief Institute researcher Stephen Downs, M.D., M.S., with the John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Application of Medical Decision Making Research. The award recognizes individuals or organizations for sustained leadership in translating medical decision-making research into practice and work to communicate those findings to policymakers and the public.

Dr. Downs’ career has been dedicated to supporting doctors’ medical decision-making processes by developing strategies and utilizing technologies. For example, he is the co-developer of the Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation System, known as CHICA. The system helps pediatricians maximize the time they have with their patients and address care guidelines by using information gathered from electronic health records and parents to set an agenda for the appointment based on the specific needs of the child.

In addition to his research, Dr. Downs is also active in turning scientific findings into real-world practice. He chairs the Partnership for Policy Implementation, which works with guideline authoring teams at the American Academy of Pediatrics to assure guidelines are precise and clear enough to be put into EHR decision support systems. He also directed the Medicaid Medical Advisory Cabinet, leading a team of physicians and scientists to provide guidance for Indiana’s Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning.

Technology can profoundly affect healthcare delivery. So it is important to use decision science methods to assure the care we deliver offers the greatest benefit to our patients. Decision support is especially crucial in this digital age, when the amount of available information can be overwhelming. The goal of my work is to create systems and guidelines that will help clinicians identify the most important information and provide the care the patient needs.”

Dr. Stephen Downs, Regenstrief Institute researcher

The award was presented on October 22 at the Society for Medical Decision Making’s North American meeting. The SMDM is a professional organization with a mission of improving health outcomes through the advancement of proactive, systematic approaches to clinical decision making and policy formation. It is the leading society for studying and advancing decision sciences in health.

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