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November 21, 2016

HSR&D Announces Health System Impact Award Recipient

Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH

Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH

Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, and his Houston VA Patient Safety Center team are the recipients of the 2016 HSR&D Health System Impact Award, which honors HSR&D- and QUERI-funded research that has had a direct and important impact on clinical practice or clinical policy within the VA health care system.

Part of HSR&D's Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt) based at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX, Dr. Singh and his team are being recognized for conducting research that has had a significant policy and practice impact on improving patient safety in the VA primary care setting. Dr. Singh leads a nationally recognized multidisciplinary team with a shared goal of reducing missed and delayed diagnoses in health care. The team includes experts from cognitive psychology, computer science, human factors engineering, social sciences, internal medicine, and clinical informatics and is additionally supported by the VA National Center for Patient Safety. Since 2007, the team has conducted research to improve communication of test results, identify and reduce diagnostic errors, and improve safety of care using VA's Computerized Patient Record System. Dr. Singh and his team have developed several types of innovations to impact the VA health care system, including trigger tools to identify patients with missed or delayed follow-up of test results, safety assessment guides for electronic health records (EHRs), and decision-support software for the EHR, all of which aim to improve diagnostic safety and outcomes of EHR-based communication. [Watch Dr. Singh speak about patient safety and the EHR in a video here.]

The team's impact on policy and practice in the VA health care system includes initiatives to measure and improve communication of diagnostic test results to patients and clinicians. For example, the team partnered with VA operations leaders to help develop and disseminate several guidance documents for the field, including three toolkits to help front-line clinicians safely manage 'alert' notifications of test results in the EHR. In addition, Dr. Singh co-developed the national VA policy on communication of test results to patients and providers. This policy was heavily influenced by the team's work and is now in place at all VA facilities, thus collectively impacting care for millions of Veterans.

This research has now gained national and international recognition and established HSR&D as a leader in the field of patient safety and diagnostic error reduction. The 2015 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report "Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare" highlighted several of the team's publications in the description of what is known about diagnostic error and recommendations to improve the diagnostic process. Dr. Singh testified before the IOM Committee, and the team's work heavily influenced the report. Additionally, the work has had tremendous impact on the public and has been highlighted by The New York Times, Washington Post, the US News & World Report and the Wall Street Journal.

HSR&D congratulates Dr. Singh and his team on this well-deserved award and is grateful for their work on improving diagnostic safety for our nation's Veterans.

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