Dr. Eve Kerr wants to ensure that Veterans all get the care they need but not care that is unnecessary or may be harmful.
“Through my research, I have developed ways to assess when there are important gaps in care delivery and how to fix those gaps. Sometimes it means that we need to provide more care in certain circumstance for some patients,” she explains.
Kerr adds that “Other times it means that we should actually stop or scale back some of the care we are providing in order to prevent side effects of medications or tests. What is important is that we need to personalize treatment based on individual patient needs and preferences.
“My research has sought ways both to assess the quality of care we provide to Veterans and find ways to improve it.”
Dr. Kerr is the Director of the VA Center for Clinical Management Research at the Ann Arbor Healthcare System. She is also a professor at the University of Michigan Health System.
In a recent study published in the Journal of the America Medical Association, Internal Medicine, (JAMA IM) Kerr found that “Many physicians fail to reduce blood pressure or blood sugar medication in older adults who experience very low levels of sugar or blood pressure control in response to the medication.”
Treatment Now Used Throughout VA
This and previous work led Kerr to develop new clinical action measures for cholesterol and blood pressure treatment that have been utilized throughout VA.
Better care sometimes means fewer medicines, not more. Here’s an article by Dr. Kerr and her colleagues that explains why some Veteran patients may be candidates for “drug holidays.”
They propose that changing the “more is better” mindset among both patients and providers will be essential to ensure that patients get the treatments they need but not those that are unnecessary and potentially harmful.
Kerr is well known in America and internationally for her work developing innovative methods to assess and improve quality of patient care.
Listen to Dr. Kerr speak about her research on performance measurement and quality improvement.
Reflecting on her inspiration to pursue research, she adds, “As a resident at UCLA, I saw problems in healthcare financing and delivery and wanted to figure out how to fix them so that patients could get the care they needed.
“My mentor was a health services researcher who helped me to conduct a study in my ‘spare time’ as a 2nd year medical resident. I saw the power of health services research and I was hooked!”
“Fortunate to Serve Veterans”
Kerr and her architect husband Robert have lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for 20 years where they raised their two “wonderful daughters.” They love to travel and spend time “Up North” in Michigan, near Traverse City.
Dr. Kerr received the 2016 VHA Under Secretary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research. It is the highest honor that VA’s Health Services Research and Development bestows.
On working for VA, she says, “I value being able to give back to those who have served and work in one of the greatest healthcare systems in the country. I feel fortunate to come to work every day, to be able to serve Veterans and to work with wonderful colleagues.”