Division of General Internal Medicine
The Division of General Internal Medicine (GIM) has an active and nationally known research and scholarship program. Areas of focus within the research programs of GIM include patient outcomes, patient-physician communication and decision-making, and medication education. Research efforts are based at both the Medical College of Wisconsin campus and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. The infrastructure to support research efforts in GIM includes standing research conferences twice a month, collaborative efforts with faculty in the center for Patient Care Outcomes Research (PCOR), and a critical mass of clinician-investigators based in GIM. Faculty in GIM are actively involved in the dissemination of their work through peer-reviewed publications and participation at regional and national scientific meetings of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) as well as other professional organizations. Faculty in GIM have held national leadership positions in SGIM and the Society for Medical Decision Making(SMDM). Research efforts often involve collaborative work with other Divisions and Departments both within MCW and with other institutions.
One area of research focus in GIM is outcomes research. Faculty are engaged in research that utilizes large administrative and clinical databases to address questions regarding the relationship of patterns of care to clinical outcomes. The GIM research group has a large amount of experience and expertise in the use of Medicare and SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) databases to address research questions regarding patterns of care and patient outcomes. Clinical areas of interest that are currently being evaluated with this methodology include screening and treatment patterns for breast cancer, prostate cancer and osteoporosis. The GIM faculty work closely with core faculty in the center of Patient Care and Outcomes Research (PCOR) who bring expertise in the areas of economics and psychometrics.
A second area of active research is in patient-physician communication and medical decision-making. Several areas of work are ongoing in this domain. Research in decision-making has included the development and evaluation of decision-aids for prostate cancer screening and treatment, postmenopausal hormone therapy, and breast cancer risk communication. An ongoing research program is evaluating the effect of Telemedicine on patient and physician communication patterns. A third area of research relevant to communication is an ongoing program to evaluate the effect of Numeracy on the use of health protective behaviors among primary care populations.
The division of GIM has ongoing scholarship and research initiatives in the area of primary and secondary medical education. Research efforts are ongoing to develop and evaluate the use of web-based curricular programs. The Division of GIM has been the recipient of a Hartford/SGIM award to create a collaborative program between the division of Geriatrics and GIM to improve the integration of geriatrics medicine into the internal medicine residency training program. Research initiatives also exist within GIM to evaluate the effect of resident work hours on patient care and outcomes. A monthly conference series for discussion of scholarly and research initiatives in the field of education is sponsored by GIM.