Innovation "Now" in the Clinical Office Practice
Innovation can be defined as ongoing creative adaptation. An office practice is often a difficult setting in which to innovate because of bureaucratic barriers, but recent trials conducted by Ronald Dixon, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital suggest that clinical innovation in the doctor’s office is possible.
One project undertaken by Dr. Dixon was designed to compare the effectiveness of doctor-patient video conferences to that of face-to-face visits. It was initially difficult to find the resources needed to complete the project, but the researchers involved were eventually able to find funding as well as the right people with the right expertise. The study recruited 175 participants and obtained approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB). The results suggest that patient evaluation and management is not significantly affected by the use of video conferencing in place of clinical visits.
Another project undertaken by Dr. Dixon was designed to test the effectiveness of remote monitoring in primary care. The study was designed to determine whether or not daily metabolic testing can prevent the progression of hypertension and diabetes. Again, Dr. Dixon’s team worked hard to assemble the right people and to obtain help from outside when necessary. They tracked weight, blood pressure, glucose levels, and cholesterol levels in 52 patients. Although the leaders of the study encountered unforeseen difficulties involving technology and patient recruitment, the trial is another demonstration that clinical innovation need not be limited to large teaching hospitals.
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