BOULDER, Colo., March. 13, 2019  — The Partners Healthcare Knowledge Transformation Laboratory has been working for the past several years to establish a Clinical Knowledge Engineering capability for Partners Health that brings continuing professional education to the front line of clinical operations.

As healthcare systems shift to a value-based model, there’s a need to quantify the impact of learning interventions. “Knowledge engineering” refers to all the technical, scientific, and social aspects involved in building, maintaining and using knowledge-based systems. Knowledge engineering incorporates principles of cognitive psychology and neuroscience (i.e. how the brain learns) in order to assure the retention and utilization of accurate information. Furthermore, enterprise clinical data repositories, derived from electronic health record (EHR) systems, accrue vast amounts of vital patient outcomes data that can be related to learning interventions to measure their actual impact.

According to Robert Birnbaum, MD, PhD, Vice President of Continuing Professional Development, “Continuing professional education in healthcare has traditionally been relegated to a licensure compliance model without a direct clinical mission. Many of the standard methods of ensuring provider competency are either antiquated, expensive or too labor intensive to be deployed with any regularity.”

Partners has worked with the Amplifire Healthcare Alliance for the past several years to develop clinical knowledge engineering courseware deployed through their adaptive learning platform that provides effective learning and rich analytics. The platform was developed in partnership with the top US cognitive science labs for human learning and has shown strong performance improvement results in clinical settings.

Brent James, MD, Adjunct Clinical Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and a member of Amplifire’s Healthcare Alliance, commented, “It is exciting to begin work with Dr. Birnbaum’s lab to bring new tools to the market. What I saw with Amplifire and the Partners’ courseware was a set of tools that much more accurately, completely, and rapidly loaded critical knowledge to providers. It gave us the ability not to just transmit it, it gave us the ability to measure how well we have done and identify specific areas where things were falling short. I personally believe that this combination of smart, confident professionals tightly trained around specific issues in conjunction with effective systems, has the potential to clearly carry health systems across the country far beyond what any of us would believe possible. We have not yet begun to understand how good healthcare can be.”

Bob Burgin, CEO of the Amplifire Healthcare Alliance, noted that, “Partners Healthcare is a true leader in advancing clinical knowledge engineering as an alternative to compliance-based training based on licensure compliance rather than clinical focus. Perfunctory compliance-based training is quickly losing relevance as healthcare systems seek to move forward under new reimbursement models. For clinical areas where there is both a risk of patient harm and financial liability for unreimbursed care, hospitals can no longer afford to deploy obsolete learning methods that do not actually help providers perform at their highest potential.”

As a founding member of the Amplifire Healthcare Alliance, Partners is making their clinical knowledge engineering courseware in critical areas such as Safe Prescribing of Opioids, C-Difficile, Surgical Site Infections and others available to other member health systems including Intermountain Health, UC Health, Children’s Colorado, the VA VISN 19, Banner Health, Centura Health and others. As a critical step in this effort, Partners is migrating Amplifire learning modules into a new learning management system provided by EthosCE, the leading LMS for healthcare systems. This move also enables Partners to leverage proven clincal knowledge engineering courseware developed by other member systems.

Dr. Birnbaum commented: “It is exciting to collaborate with health systems across the country to bring these advancements forward. New models of delivery, rapid information technology advances and the ever-expanding velocity of clinical data have made it imperative that providers adopt innovative approaches to life-long training. It’s no secret that our industry has a history of wasteful investments that have encouraged training approaches without a demonstrable improvement in quality of care. Now is the time to apply evidence-based protocols and learning interventions that will assure the adoption of those protocols at the point of care. We’re confident that knowledge engineering is an advancement that will create a dynamic learning healthcare system responsive to the needs of both providers and patients alike.”

About Partners Healthcare Knowledge Transformation Laboratory
Partners Healthcare Knowledge Transformation Laboratory serves as an R&D accelerator that architects, builds, and tests cutting-edge learning innovations. The lab works closely with Partners Health internal capabilities, coupling them with technology startups, innovation collaborators, and service healthcare stakeholders to deliver specific goals, for example, improving diagnostic accuracy, reducing avoidable harm and leveling disparities in care, etc..

About Robert J. Birnbaum, MD, PhD
Robert J. Birnbaum, MD, PhD is the Vice President of Continuing Professional Development at Partners Healthcare. Dr. Birnbaum is a practicing psychopharmacologist. His PhD research was in molecular neurobiology. He has devoted much of his career to managing large-scale CME efforts, developing courses and studying education methodology and impact. Dr. Birnbaum is the founding Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Psychiatry Academy and the founding Executive Director of the MGH Academy. He serves on the Education Review Board (ERB) of Partners Healthcare and the Partners Education Committee (PEC). He is a member of the Foundation Board of the Alliance for Continuing Education in The Health Professions (ACEHP). Dr. Birnbaum has served on Harvard Medical School’s Standing Committee on Continuing Medical Education and is the Member-at-Large of the Education Research Committee of the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education (SACME).

About the Amplifire Healthcare Alliance
The Amplifire Healthcare Alliance is a collaborative of leading health systems across the country to work to develop evidenced-based proven clinical knowledge engineering solutions and share best practices, courseware and analytics toward the common goal of eliminating hospital acquired conditions and adverse events in hospitals.