By Eliza Brosgol
This summer, I spent ten weeks working as a data and research intern for the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) through the Whitehead Internship Program. HCIF is an independent nonprofit organization in center-city Philadelphia drives high-value health care through stakeholder collaboration and quality improvement initiatives. The organization works to fulfill the needs of patients and consumers, and to achieve better health care. On a day-to-day basis this means that HCIF serves as a facilitator among collaborating individuals, companies, hospitals, and health systems for the projects of which it is a part. Each of the initiatives falls under one of two branches within the organization: clinical improvement or population health.
At HCIF, I worked mostly with the clinical improvement team. I spent my time working on two projects: CPR Ready and the Pennsylvania Urology Regional Collaborative (PURC). CPR Ready is a Philadelphia area campaign that strives to increase bystander response and cardiac arrest survival rates. My work for CPR Ready included taking notes during coalition meetings, assisting with hands-only CPR during sessions, and communicating with organizations that were interested in arranging a CPR training. At the beginning of the summer, I had the opportunity to do research on CPR Ready’s partners and write an article, that was published, about the mission of the campaign and the success that it has achieved thus far!
PURC is a quality improvement initiative that brings together urology practices in a physician-led, data-sharing collaborative aimed at advancing the quality of diagnosis and care for men with prostate cancer. My favorite part of my work with PURC was building, disseminating, and analyzing the results of a survey for the collaborative and HCIF. The purpose of the survey was to develop a better understanding of the variation in ordering practices of opioid prescriptions among providers within PURC following a prostatectomy surgery. In order to build the survey, I corresponded directly with the chair of the opioid working group (a physician at Penn Medicine), researched previous opioid surveys, physically designed the survey, sent it out to the 130 providers within the organization, analyzed the results, and presented an official report of the findings to my coworkers at HCIF.
As an economics major with an interest in health care, my summer working at HCIF has provided with direct exposure to the many moving parts within the U.S. health care system. Working with different staff members, each with different educational backgrounds, allowed me to develop a clearer understanding of the diverse and complicated system that is U.S. health care. One of the aspects I enjoy the most about my internship is how much I learned each day—whether that be about how the health systems in Philadelphia are working together or statistics regarding the opioid epidemic the U.S. is currently facing. My internship at HCIF has not only helped me continue to develop skills that I will use throughout my professional career, but also has taught be about the “hot topics” in the health care and the various types of careers that one can have in the industry.
I feel fortunate to have worked at an organization where every staff member was willing to answer my questions, share their experiences, and help me with my projects. I loved my time at HCIF and would recommend the experience to anyone!