Communication Scholars Lead Health Systems Deliberation











Communication graduate students Andrew Allsup and Taylor Hahn joined with faculty members Johanna Hartelius and Gordon Mitchell to facilitate a deliberation event that convened nearly 40 patients, clinicians and health system leaders in Pittsburgh on November 9, 2015.

The event, sponsored by the PaTH Network, focused on the question of which research topics would be most useful for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to explore. As a “network of networks,” PCORnet “harnesses the power of large amounts of health information and unique partnerships among patients, clinicians, health systems and others. In the process, it seeks to transform the culture of research from one directed by researchers to one driven by the needs of patients and other healthcare stakeholders.”

Allsup, Hahn, Hartlelius and Mitchell worked with colleagues from Pitt’s Department of Political Science, patient partners and health researchers to design a deliberation format and facilitate conversation among diverse stakeholders that included patients and clinicians, along with health system and health plan leaders from Johns Hopkins University, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, the University of Utah, the Geisinger Health System, and Pitt.

Click here to view a 4-minute summary video of the event.

“It was challenging to design a format that would enable patients and health system leaders to deliberate effectively,” says PaTH Co-Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology Kathleen McTigue; “Our colleagues in Communication and Political Science played an instrumental role in facilitating this very productive and illuminating conversation.”

The deliberation session integrated the use of narratives, patient-driven breakout groups, and real-time Audience Response System polling to yield a consensus recommendation that PCORI should pursue research focusing on how to understand high utilization patterns of health care resources. The PaTH Network, which brings together electronic health records of over a million patients from six health systems, is uniquely positioned to shed light on this topic.

Click here to access the presentation slides and Audience Response System polling results from the event.

In January 2016, delegates from PaTH will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in a deliberative event sponsored by PCORI and the National Academy of Medicine. This occasion will provide an opportunity for PaTH representatives to bring the outcomes of the November 2015 deliberative event to a wider audience, with the possibility of shaping a future PCORI funding initiative.