School of Nursing researcher receives federal Career Development award


Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Assistant Professor Deonni P. Stolldorf, Ph.D., has received a career development award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The $138,059 mentored award (K01-HS-025486-01) is renewable for three years.

Stolldorf will use the K01 Research Scientist Development Award to investigate how factors within hospitals influence the adoption of ongoing, sustainable medication reconciliation (MedRec) practices. MedRec, the process of verifying, comparing and confirming patients’ medication orders during care transitions, has been shown to significantly reduce medication errors and has been endorsed by the Joint Commission, AHRQ and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

“Unintentional medication discrepancies occur among more than 50 percent of hospitalized patients, and of those, more than half have the potential for moderate to severe harm,” Stolldorf said. “While every system strives to prevent such discrepancies, many hospitals have found great difficulty in effectively implementing and sustaining MedRec practices. I seek to discover how MedRec interventions have been successfully implemented, which strategies might prove to be most effective, and how to sustain the MedRec practices over time.”

Stolldorf is particularly interested in examiDeonni Stolldorfning how organizational context and the choice of implementation strategies affect the sustainability of MedRec interventions. She’ll conduct a mixed-methods study that runs concurrently with another AHRQ-funded study, “Implementation of a Medication Reconciliation Protocol to Improve Patient Safety” (MARQUIS 2) (R18 HS023757). That 18-hospital mentored quality improvement initiative aims to reduce unintentional medication discrepancies by implementing and evaluating an evidence-based MedRec toolkit. Stolldorf will collaborate with the MARQUIS investigators, hospital site leaders and project staff throughout the study and data collection will occur for both studies at the same time.

“I believe this study will enhance our understanding of how contextual factors and selected implementation strategies affect the sustainability of medication reconciliation interventions,” Stolldorf said. “The findings will help us develop implementation and sustainability guidelines that will assist hospitals struggling with how to best implement and maintain MedRec interventions, and will also inform other complex interdisciplinary health care interventions.”

Stolldorf’s scholarly interests include health services implementation, sustainability of health care interventions and medication reconciliation. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she completed post-doctoral work at Vanderbilt and the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System through a Veteran’s Administration Quality Scholars Post-Doctoral fellowship. She joined VUSN in 2013.

AHRQ career development awards foster the career development of promising new investigators in health services research. The investigators’ research must relate to producing evidence that makes health care safer, higher quality, more assessable, equitable and affordable, and the award recipient is tasked with making the evidence understandable and usable

Photo, top by Daniel Dubois. Inset photo by Keith Woods