New AHRQ Grantees: Susan Huang, M.D, Thomas Payne, M.D, Nasia Safdar M.D., Ph.D.

AHRQ is highlighting its latest research training grantees Susan Huang, M.D., Thomas Payne, M.D., and Nasia Safdar M.D., Ph.D., whose work has led to significant changes in health care policy.

Dr. Huang, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Medical Director, Epidemiology and Infection Prevention at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine, has helped identify how healthcare-associated infections are transmitted and discovered new approaches to prevent them. Her work to advance the academic and practical knowledge of infection prevention has informed the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee, which advises on infection prevention and surveillance practices used throughout the U.S. health care system. Dr. Huang has received numerous awards for her advances in healthcare-associated infections prevention, including the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America's 2012 Investigator Award and the Infectious Disease Society of America's 2016 Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement.

Dr. Payne, an attending physician at the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA, is acutely aware of the impact that electronic health records (EHRs) have on clinical practice. While EHRs have great potential to improve patient care, they also present workflow challenges for physicians. Dr. Payne is using grant funding from AHRQ to better understand and address the problems associated with physician note-writing practices in EHRs. Dr. Payne and his team developed and implemented a voice-generated enhanced electronic note system, or VGEENS, to translate clinical notes into usable, actionable information on the EHR. Dr. Payne’s work in customizing EHRs to better support physician workflow and practice advances the integration of computing systems into the process of care and has the potential to reduce clinician burden, speed access to information for the care team, and improve the care provided to patients.

Dr. Safdar, Medical Director of Infection Control at the University of Wisconsin (UW) Hospitals and Clinics, conducted an AHRQ-funded study to identify factors that affect health care workers’ use of prevention activities, known as bundles, to combat Clostridium difficile. Using a systems engineering framework Dr. Safdar and colleagues conducted a large randomized controlled trial to determine if giving a preventive antibiotic to patients who have recurrent bouts of C. diff can rid them of the infection for good. Knowing that antibiotic resistance could be a potential downside to this treatment, Dr. Safdar is also looking at whether the treatment is worth the potential risk of resistance. In addition to her research work, Dr. Safdar led UW’s adoption of the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program. The program is an evidence-based method that uses a structured framework for safety improvement. These efforts helped UW receive the 2013 Partnership in Prevention award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control, and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Select to access more about Dr. Huang, Dr. Payne, Dr. Safdar, and other AHRQ grantees that have made significant contributions to health services research.

Page last reviewed October 2017
Page originally created October 2017
Internet Citation: New AHRQ Grantees: Susan Huang, M.D, Thomas Payne, M.D, Nasia Safdar M.D., Ph.D.. Content last reviewed October 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.