Dr. Iwashyna’s research focuses on the organization of critical care services to provide high quality and value and improved outcomes. His work seeks to understand the context of critical illness (and severe sepsis in particular), both in how critical illness influences a patient’s life course, and in how the organizational environment influences the effectiveness of the care that a patient receives. His research interests also include health system organization, evaluating hospital quality of care, and medical education.
What drew you to MiCHAMP?
Perhaps the single best reason to live in Ann Arbor is the range of really smart interesting people one can meet. MICHAMP acts as a gravitational well, drawing in clever, fun-to-think-with people from across the University and putting their big brains all in one room. The chance to hear about their work and learn from them as they try to solve each other’s problems—that was just irresistible. The possibility that they might be persuaded to use those big brains to solve some of my problems was just gravy.
What specific expertise do you bring to MiCHAMP?
I bring clinical expertise as a physician who practices in the intensive care unit, and so knows a fair amount of medicine, about pressing clinical problems, and about conditions where uncertainty in diagnosis and management can lead to fatal mistakes — the sorts of problems for which MICHAMP’s expertise could be pivotal. But I also have a PhD from the University of Chicago’s School of Public Policy. This means I have spent a lot of time carrying out and analyzing complex longitudinal surveys and using large administrative databases; this includes thinking about both survey-based and naturalistic approaches to carefully characterizing the dynamics of behavior and health over time— the sorts of data needed to apply MICHAMP’s data-hungry methods.
Finally, I devote a substantial portion of my energy to mentoring, and I look to find ways to connect important clinical and policy problems to innovative new tools to answer them.
What are your research interests and how do they tie into MiCHAMP?
My specific research interests are in understanding and improving patients’ recovery from acute serious illnesses, such as sepsis, pneumonia, and cardiac arrest. These conditions are treated in situations that generate masses of data over short and long time scales, yet we have few tools of understanding them, identifying pivotal transition points that can be targets for intervention, or for prognosticating accurately for patients and their loved ones. MICHAMP has already produced some fruitful collaborations for me in advancing work on those problems, all of which can benefit from the application of diverse longitudinal and dynamic data.