News
October 25, 2019

Regenstrief scientist honored for research to support clinical decision making

Dr. Stephen Downs with quote: "Decision support is especially crucial in this digital age, when the amount of available information can be overwhelming."

The Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) awarded Regenstrief Institute researcher Stephen Downs, M.D., M.S., with the John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Application of Medical Decision Making Research. The award recognizes individuals or organizations for sustained leadership in translating medical decision-making research into practice and work to communicate those findings to policymakers and the public.

Dr. Downs’ career has been dedicated to supporting doctors’ medical decision-making processes by developing strategies and utilizing technologies. For example, he is the co-developer of the Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation System, known as CHICA. The system helps pediatricians maximize the time they have with their patients and address care guidelines by using information gathered from electronic health records and parents to set an agenda for the appointment based on the specific needs of the child.

Dr. Stephen Downs receiving the John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Application of Medical Decision Making Research
Dr. Stephen Downs receives the John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Application of Medical Decision Making Research.

In addition to his research, Dr. Downs is also active in turning scientific findings into real-world practice. He chairs the Partnership for Policy Implementation, which works with guideline authoring teams at the American Academy of Pediatrics to assure guidelines are precise and clear enough to be put into EHR decision support systems. He also directed the Medicaid Medical Advisory Cabinet, leading a team of physicians and scientists to provide guidance for Indiana’s Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning.

“Technology can profoundly affect healthcare delivery. So it is important to use decision science methods to assure the care we deliver offers the greatest benefit to our patients,” said Dr. Downs. “Decision support is especially crucial in this digital age, when the amount of available information can be overwhelming. The goal of my work is to create systems and guidelines that will help clinicians identify the most important information and provide the care the patient needs.”

The award was presented on October 22 at the Society for Medical Decision Making’s North American meeting. The SMDM is a professional organization with a mission of improving health outcomes through the advancement of proactive, systematic approaches to clinical decision making and policy formation. It is the leading society for studying and advancing decision sciences in health.

About Regenstrief Institute

Founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute is a local, national and global leader dedicated to a world where better information empowers people to end disease and realize true health. The Regenstrief Institute and its researchers are responsible for a growing number of major healthcare innovations and studies. Examples range from the development of global health information technology standards that enable the use and interoperability of electronic health records to improving patient-physician communications, to creating models of care that inform practice and improve the lives of patients around the globe.

A key research partner to Indiana University, Regenstrief Institute is celebrating 50 years of healthcare innovation. Sam Regenstrief, a successful entrepreneur from Connersville, Indiana, founded the institute with the goal of making healthcare more efficient and accessible for everyone. His vision continues to guide the institute’s research mission.

About Stephen Downs, M.D., M.S.

In addition to his role at Regenstrief, Dr. Downs is the Jean and Jerry Bepko Professor of Pediatrics and the vice chair of general pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine.

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