October 13, 2008

SCIENCE IS THE WRONG PLACE TO LOOK FOR OBJECTIVITY:

Dartmouth's John E. Wennberg wins prestigious Lienhard Award (Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs, 10/13/08)

Dr. John E. Wennberg today received the 2008 Gustav O. Lienhard Award from the Institute of Medicine for “reshaping the U.S. health care system” to focus on objective evidence and outcomes rather than physician preference as the basis for treatment decisions, and for his efforts to empower patients with greater input on decisions about their own care.

"John Wennberg is duly renowned for his impact on the evolution of health care delivery in the United States," said Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine. "His painstaking documentation of deep, regional differences in health care delivery and quality provided the foundation for many important changes in health care, including increasing recognition of the importance of evidence-based medicine to guide health care delivery and the movement toward patient-centered care. He is a man of courage, steadfast determination, and keen intelligence whose work is the basis for many improvements in health care quality and efficiency."

The 23rd recipient of the Lienhard Award, which comes with a $25,000 cash award, Wennberg is the founder and director emeritus of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and the Peggy Y. Thomson Chair for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences. He is widely recognized for pioneering research on health care outcomes and patient-directed care. Using small-area analysis, a strategy developed by Wennberg and his colleague Alan Gitlesohn, he showed that rates of procedures in areas with similar populations varied greatly, and determined that the variations stemmed primarily from differences in physicians' treatment preferences. His discoveries challenged the medical profession to acknowledge that most care was based on tradition or opinion rather than on objective evidence of what is most effective.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 13, 2008 9:23 PM
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