Mary Beth Hamel

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (105)1484.64 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Evidence suggests obesity-related social stigma and impairment in work function may be the two most detrimental quality of life (QOL) factors to overall well-being among patients seeking weight loss surgery (WLS); whether the relative importance of QOL factors varies across patient sex and race/ethnicity is unclear. Methods: We interviewed 574 patients seeking WLS at two centers. We measured patient's health utility (preference-based well-being measure) as determined via standard gamble scenarios assessing patients' willingness to risk death to achieve weight loss or perfect health. Multivariable models assessed associations between patients' utility and five weight-related QOL domains stratified by gender and race: social stigma, self-esteem, physical function, public distress (weight stigma), and work life. Results: Depending on patients' sex and race/ethnicity, mean utilities ranged from 0.85 to 0.91, reflecting an average willingness to assume a 9-15 % risk of death to achieve their most desired health/weight state. After adjustment, African Americans (AAs) reported higher utility than Caucasians (+0.054, p = 0.03), but utilities did not vary significantly by sex. Among Caucasian and AA men, impairment in physical functioning was the most important factor associated with diminished utility; social stigma was also a leading factor for Caucasian men. Among Caucasian women, self-esteem and work function appeared equally important. Social stigma was the leading contributor to utility among AA women; QOL factors did not appear as important among Hispanic patients. Conclusion: AAs reported higher utilities than Caucasian patients. Individual QOL domains that drive diminished well-being varied across race/ethnicity and sex.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Obesity Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: There is insufficient evidence to recommend mammography for women >75 years. Guidelines recommend that older women be informed of the uncertainty of benefit and potential for harm, especially for women with short life expectancy. However, few older women are informed of harms of screening and many with short life expectancy are screened. Therefore, we aim to test whether a mammography screening decision aid (DA) for women >75 years affects their use of mammography, particularly for women with <10 year life expectancy. Methods/design: The DA is a self-administered pamphlet that includes information on screening outcomes, tailored information on breast cancer risk, health, life expectancy, and competing mortality risks, and includes a values clarification exercise. We are conducting a large cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the DA with the primary care provider (PCP) as the unit of randomization to evaluate its efficacy. We plan to recruit 550 women 75-89 years from 100 PCPs to receive either the mammography DA or a pamphlet on home safety for older adults (control arm) before a visit with their PCP, depending on their PCP's randomization assignment. The primary outcome is receipt of mammography screening assessed through chart abstraction. Secondary outcomes include effect of the DA on older women's screening intentions, knowledge, and decisional conflict, and on documented discussions about mammography by their PCPs. We will recruit women from 5 Boston-based primary care practices (3 community-based internal medicine practices and 2 academic practices), and 2 North Carolina-based academic primary care practices. Discussion: It is essential that we test the DA in a large RCT to determine if it is efficacious and to substantiate the need for broad translation into clinical practice. Our DA has the potential to improve health care utilization and care in a manner dictated by patient preferences.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives To examine receipt of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening according to age and life expectancy (LE) in adults aged 65 and older.DesignPopulation-based survey.SettingUnited States.ParticipantsCommunity dwelling adults aged 65 and older who participated in the 2008 or 2010 National Health Interview Survey (N = 7,747).MeasurementsReceipt of CRC screening (e.g., colonoscopy within 10 years) was examined according to age and LE (≥10 and <10 years), adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and survey year. Frequency of CRC screening was also examined according to age and LE at time of screening (e.g., age at colonoscopy rather than at interview). Participants screened when they were aged 75 and older or had less than a 10-year LE were considered to have received screening inconsistent with guidelines.ResultsOverall, 38.5% of participants had less than a 10-year LE; 40.2% were aged 75 and older, and 56.3% had received recent CRC screening (90.1% by colonoscopy). CRC screening was higher in 2010 (58.9%) than 2008 (53.7%, P <.001) and was associated with longer LE and younger age, although 51.1% of adults aged 75 and older reported receiving CRC screening, as did 50.9% of adults with less than a 10-year LE. Based on age and LE at time of screening (rather than at interview), 28.4% of CRC screening of adults aged 65 and older was targeted to those aged 75 and older and those with less than a 10-year LE. Of adults aged 65 to 75 with a 10-year LE or more (adults recommended for screening by guidelines), 39.2% had not recently been screened.Conclusion Older adults with little chance of benefit because of limited LE commonly undergo CRC screening, whereas many adults aged 65 to 75 with a 10-year LE or greater are not screened.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with obesity face widespread social bias, but the importance of this social stigma to patients relative to other quality of life (QOL) factors is unclear.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of General Internal Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Guidelines recommend that women 75 years and older should be informed of the benefits and risks of mammography before being screened. However, few are adequately informed. OBJECTIVES To develop and evaluate a mammography screening decision aid (DA) for women 75 years and older. DESIGN We designed the DA using international standards. Between July 14, 2010, and April 10, 2012, participants completed a pretest survey and read the DA before an appointment with their primary care physician. They completed a posttest survey after their appointment. Medical records were reviewed for follow-up information. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS Boston, Massachusetts, academic primary care practice. Eligible women were aged 75 to 89 years, English speaking, had not had a mammogram in 9 months but had been screened within the past 3 years, and did not have a history of dementia or invasive or noninvasive breast cancer. Of 84 women approached, 27 declined to participate, 12 were unable to complete the study for logistical reasons, and 45 participated. INTERVENTIONS The DA includes information on breast cancer risk, life expectancy, competing mortality risks, possible outcomes of screening, and a values clarification exercise. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Knowledge of the benefits and risks of screening, decisional conflict, and screening intentions; documentation in the medical record of a discussion of the risks and benefits of mammography with a primary care physician within 6 months; and the receipt of screening within 15 months. We used the Wilcoxon signed rank test and McNemar test to compare pretest-posttest information. RESULTS The median age of participants was 79 years, 69% (31 of 45) were of non-Hispanic white race/ethnicity, and 60% (27 of 45) had attended at least some college. Comparison of posttest results with pretest results demonstrated 2 findings. First, knowledge of the benefits and risks of screening improved (P < .001). Second, fewer participants intended to be screened (56% [25 of 45] afterward compared with 82% [37 of 45] before, P = .03). Decisional conflict declined but not significantly (P = .10). In the following 6 months, 53% (24 of 45) of participants had a primary care physician note that documented the discussion of the risks and benefits of screening compared with 11% (5 of 45) in the previous 5 years (P < .001). While 84% (36 of 43) had been screened within 2 years of participating, 60% (26 of 43) were screened within 15 months after participating (≥2 years since their last mammogram) (P = .01). Overall, 93% (42 of 45) found the DA helpful. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE A DA may improve older women's decision making about mammography screening.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · JAMA Internal Medicine
  • Keith S Goldfeld · Mary Beth Hamel · Susan L Mitchell
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    ABSTRACT: CONTEXT: Nursing home (NH) residents with advanced dementia commonly experience burdensome and costly hospitalizations that may not extend survival or improve quality of life. Cost-effectiveness analyses of decisions to hospitalize these residents have not been reported. OBJECTIVES: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of 1) not having a do-not-hospitalize (DNH) order and 2) hospitalization for suspected pneumonia in NH residents with advanced dementia. METHODS: NH residents from 22 NHs in the Boston area were followed in the Choices, Attitudes, and Strategies for Care of Advanced Dementia at the End-of-Life study conducted between February 2003 and February 2009. We conducted cost-effectiveness analyses of aggressive treatment strategies for advanced dementia residents living in NHs when they suffer from acute illness. Primary outcome measures included quality-adjusted life days (QALDs) and quality-adjusted life years, Medicare expenditures, and incremental net benefits (INBs) over 15 months. RESULTS: Compared with a less aggressive strategy of avoiding hospital transfer (i.e., having DNH orders), the strategy of hospitalization was associated with an incremental increase in Medicare expenditures of $5972 and an incremental gain in quality-adjusted survival of 3.7 QALDs. Hospitalization for pneumonia was associated with an incremental increase in Medicare expenditures of $3697 and an incremental reduction in quality-adjusted survival of 9.7 QALDs. At a willingness-to-pay level of $100,000/quality-adjusted life years, the INBs of the more aggressive treatment strategies were negative and, therefore, not cost effective (INB for not having a DNH order, -$4958 and INB for hospital transfer for pneumonia, -$6355). CONCLUSION: Treatment strategies favoring hospitalization for NH residents with advanced dementia are not cost effective.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of pain and symptom management
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Weight loss surgery (WLS) has been shown to produce long-term weight loss but is not risk free or universally effective. The weight loss expectations and willingness to undergo perioperative risk among patients seeking WLS remain unknown. OBJECTIVES To examine the expectations and motivations of WLS patients and the mortality risks they are willing to undertake and to explore the demographic characteristics, clinical factors, and patient perceptions associated with high weight loss expectations and willingness to assume high surgical risk. DESIGN We interviewed patients seeking WLS and conducted multivariable analyses to examine the characteristics associated with high weight loss expectations and the acceptance of mortality risks of 10% or higher. SETTING Two WLS centers in Boston. PARTICIPANTS Six hundred fifty-four patients. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Disappointment with a sustained weight loss of 20% and willingness to accept a mortality risk of 10% or higher with WLS. RESULTS On average, patients expected to lose as much as 38% of their weight after WLS and expressed disappointment if they did not lose at least 26%. Most patients (84.8%) accepted some risk of dying to undergo WLS, but only 57.5% were willing to undergo a hypothetical treatment that produced a 20% weight loss. The mean acceptable mortality risk to undergo WLS was 6.7%, but the median risk was only 0.1%; 19.5% of all patients were willing to accept a risk of at least 10%. Women were more likely than men to be disappointed with a 20% weight loss but were less likely to accept high mortality risk. After initial adjustment, white patients appeared more likely than African American patients to have high weight loss expectations and to be willing to accept high risk. Patients with lower quality-of-life scores and those who perceived needing to lose more than 10% and 20% of weight to achieve "any" health benefits were more likely to have unrealistic weight loss expectations. Low quality-of-life scores were also associated with willingness to accept high risk. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Most patients seeking WLS have high weight loss expectations and believe they need to lose substantial weight to derive any health benefits. Educational efforts may be necessary to align expectations with clinical reality.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · JAMA SURGERY
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Obesity is a stigmatizing condition associated with adverse psychosocial consequences. The relative importance of weight stigma in reducing health utility or the value a person places on their current health state is unknown. Methods: We conducted a telephone survey of patients with obesity. All were seeking weight loss surgery at two bariatric centers (70 % response rate). We assessed patients' health utility (preference-based quality life measure) via a series of standard gamble scenarios assessing patients' willingness to risk death to lose various amounts of weight or achieve perfect health (range 0 to 1; 0 = death and 1 = most valued health/weight state). Multivariable models assessed associations among quality of life domains from the Short-form 36 (SF-36) and Impact of Weight on Quality of Life-lite (IWQOL-lite) and patients' health utility. Results: Our study sample (n = 574) had a mean body mass index of 46.5 kg/m(2) and a mean health utility of 0.87, reflecting the group's average willingness to accept a 13 % risk of death to achieve their most desired health/weight state; utilities were highly variable, however, with 10 % reporting a utility of 1.00 and 27 % reporting a utility lower than 0.90. Among the IWQOL-lite subscales, Public Distress and Work Life were the only two subscales significantly associated with patients' utility after adjustment for sociodemographic factors. Among the SF-36 subscales, Role Physical, Physical Functioning, and Role Emotional were significantly associated with patients' utility. When the leading subscales on both IWQOL-lite and SF-36 were considered together, Role Physical, Public Distress, and to a lesser degree Role Emotional remained independently associated with patients' health utility. Conclusion: Patients seeking weight loss surgery report health utilities similar to those reported for people living with diabetes or with laryngeal cancer; however, utility values varied widely with more than a quarter of patients willing to accept more than a 10 % risk of death to achieve their most valued health/weight state. Interference with role functioning due to physical limitations and obesity-related social stigma were strong determinants of reduced health utility.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of General Internal Medicine
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    Keith S Goldfeld · Mary Beth Hamel · Susan L Mitchell
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    ABSTRACT: Nursing home residents with advanced dementia commonly experience burdensome and costly interventions (eg, hospitalization) of questionable clinical benefit. To facilitate cost-effectiveness analyses of these interventions, utility-based measures are needed in order to estimate quality-adjusted outcomes. Nursing home residents with advanced dementia in 22 facilities were followed for 18 months (N=319). Validated health status measures ascertained from nurses at baseline, quarterly, and death (N=1702 assessments) were mapped to the Health Utilities Index Mark 2 [range, 1 (perfect health) to 0 (death); scores below 0 indicate states worse than death]. To assess validity, utility scores were compared between residents who did and did not receive burdensome interventions (parenteral therapy, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tubes, and hospital transfers), residents with and without pneumonia, and residents who did and did not die at the last assessment. Mean (±SD) Health Utilities Index Mark 2 utility score for the cohort was 0.165±0.060 (range, -0.005 to 0.215). Residents spent an average of 15.5% of their days with utilities <0.10. Lower utility scores were found among residents who received burdensome interventions (0.152±0.067 vs. 0.171±0.056; P=0.0003); had pneumonia (0.147±0.066 vs. 0.170±0.057; P=0.003); and were dying (0.163±0.057 vs. 0.180±0.055; P=0.006). It is feasible to map health status measures to utility-based measures for advanced dementia. This work will facilitate future cost-effectiveness analyses aimed at quantifying the cost of interventions relative to quality-based outcomes for patients with this condition.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Medical care
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    ABSTRACT: Most elderly patients do not receive recommended preventive care, acute care, and care for chronic conditions. We conducted a controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of electronic medical record (EMR) reminders, with or without panel management, on health care proxy designation, osteoporosis screening, and influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations in patients older than 65 years. Physicians were assigned to 1 of the following 3 arms: EMR reminder, EMR reminder plus panel manager, or control. We assessed completion of recommended practices during a 1-year period. Among patients who had not already received the recommended care, health care proxy was designated in 6.5% of patients in the control arm, 8.8% of the EMR reminder arm, and 19.7% of the EMR reminder plus panel manager arm (P=.002). Bone density screening was completed in 17.7% of patients in the control arm, 19.7% of the EMR reminder arm, and 30.5% of the EMR reminder plus panel manager arm (P=.02). Pneumococcal vaccine was given to 13.1% of patients in the control arm, 19.5% of the EMR reminder arm, and 25.6% of the EMR reminder plus panel manager arm (P=.02). Influenza vaccine was given to 46.8% of patients in the control arm, 56.5% of the EMR reminder arm, and 59.7% of the EMR reminder plus panel manager arm (P=.002). Results were similar when adjusted for individual physician performance in the preceding year, patient age, patient sex, years cared for by the practice, and number of visits. Electronic medical record reminders alone facilitated improvement in vaccination rates and, when augmented by panel management, facilitated further improvement in vaccination rates and boosted the rates of health care proxy designation and bone density screening. Identifier: NCT01313169.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Archives of internal medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Nursing home residents with advanced dementia commonly experience burdensome and costly interventions (eg, tube feeding) that may be of limited clinical benefit. To our knowledge, Medicare expenditures have not been extensively described in this population. Nursing home residents with advanced dementia in 22 facilities (N = 323) were followed up for 18 months. Clinical and health services use data were collected every 90 days. Medicare expenditures were described. Multivariate analysis was used to identify factors associated with total 90-day expenditures for (1) all Medicare services and (2) all Medicare services excluding hospice. Over an 18-month period, total mean Medicare expenditures were $2303 per 90 days but were highly skewed; expenditures were less than $500 for 77.1% of the 90-day assessment periods and more than $12,000 for 5.5% of these periods. The largest proportion of Medicare expenditures were for hospitalizations (30.2%) and hospice (45.6%). Among decedents (n = 177), mean Medicare expenditures increased by 65% in each of the last 4 quarters before death owing to an increase in both acute care and hospice. After multivariable adjustment, not living in a special care dementia unit was a modifiable factor associated with higher total expenditures for all Medicare services. Lack of a do-not-hospitalize order, tube feeding, and not living in a special care unit were associated with higher nonhospice Medicare expenditures. Medicare expenditures among nursing home residents with advanced dementia vary substantially. Hospitalizations and hospice account for most spending. Strategies that promote high-quality palliative care may shift expenditures away from aggressive treatments for these patients at the end of life.
    Full-text · Article · May 2011 · Archives of internal medicine
  • James H. Ware · Mary Beth Hamel

    No preview · Article · May 2011 · New England Journal of Medicine
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    James H Ware · Mary Beth Hamel

    Preview · Article · May 2011 · New England Journal of Medicine
  • Susan L. Mitchell · Mary Beth Hamel

    No preview · Article · Jan 2010 · New England Journal of Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Dementia is a leading cause of death in the United States but is underrecognized as a terminal illness. The clinical course of nursing home residents with advanced dementia has not been well described. We followed 323 nursing home residents with advanced dementia and their health care proxies for 18 months in 22 nursing homes. Data were collected to characterize the residents' survival, clinical complications, symptoms, and treatments and to determine the proxies' understanding of the residents' prognosis and the clinical complications expected in patients with advanced dementia. Over a period of 18 months, 54.8% of the residents died. The probability of pneumonia was 41.1%; a febrile episode, 52.6%; and an eating problem, 85.8%. After adjustment for age, sex, and disease duration, the 6-month mortality rate for residents who had pneumonia was 46.7%; a febrile episode, 44.5%; and an eating problem, 38.6%. Distressing symptoms, including dyspnea (46.0%) and pain (39.1%), were common. In the last 3 months of life, 40.7% of residents underwent at least one burdensome intervention (hospitalization, emergency room visit, parenteral therapy, or tube feeding). Residents whose proxies had an understanding of the poor prognosis and clinical complications expected in advanced dementia were much less likely to have burdensome interventions in the last 3 months of life than were residents whose proxies did not have this understanding (adjusted odds ratio, 0.12; 95% confidence interval, 0.04 to 0.37). Pneumonia, febrile episodes, and eating problems are frequent complications in patients with advanced dementia, and these complications are associated with high 6-month mortality rates. Distressing symptoms and burdensome interventions are also common among such patients. Patients with health care proxies who have an understanding of the prognosis and clinical course are likely to receive less aggressive care near the end of life.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · New England Journal of Medicine
  • Marissa B Wilck · Mary Beth Hamel · Lindsey R Baden

    No preview · Article · Jul 2009 · New England Journal of Medicine
  • Mary Beth Hamel · Jeffrey M. Drazen · Arnold M. Epstein

    No preview · Article · Jun 2009 · New England Journal of Medicine
  • Mary Beth Hamel · Jeffrey M Drazen · Arnold M Epstein

    No preview · Article · Apr 2009 · New England Journal of Medicine
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    Mara A Schonberg · Edward R Marcantonio · Mary Beth Hamel
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    ABSTRACT: To exfamine patient perceptions of physician discussions and recommendations about total joint arthroplasty (TJA). Prospective cohort study. One large academic medical center and four community affiliates in Boston. One hundred seventy-four patients aged 65 and older with severe osteoarthritis of the hip or knee for at least 6 months not controlled with medications. Patient perceptions of primary care physicians' (PCPs) and orthopedists' communication about TJA were assessed at baseline for all patients and at 12 months for those who did not undergo surgery. Of the 174 patients, 49 were aged 80 and older, 82% were non-Hispanic white, and 69% had knee osteoarthritis. Eighty-seven percent of individuals with baseline interviews and a PCP (142/163) reported that they had discussed their hip or knee arthritis with their PCP at baseline, and 26% (42/163) reported that their PCP discussed TJA as a treatment option. Of the 128 patients who saw an orthopedist, 65% reported that their orthopedist recommended TJA. Only 29% (51/174) of patients underwent TJA. Those who reported discussing TJA with their PCP at baseline were more likely to undergo TJA (P<.01). Thirty-six percent (44/123) of the patients who did not undergo TJA reported that their PCP discussed surgery as a treatment option at baseline or at 12month follow-up. Patients with severe osteoarthritis of their hip or knee who report discussing TJA as a treatment option with their PCP are more likely to undergo TJA within the next year, but few older adults report having these discussions. Improvement is needed in communication between PCPs and patients about TJA.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2008 · Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
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    Mary Beth Hamel · Maria Toth · Anna Legedza · Max P Rosen
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    ABSTRACT: Osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip and knee is a common cause of pain and disability in elderly patients. Joint replacement surgery can alleviate pain and restore function but is associated with risks and discomfort. We conducted a prospective cohort study to examine decision making and clinical outcomes for elderly patients (age >or=65 years) with severe OA of the hip or knee with symptoms inadequately controlled with conservative treatments. Osteoarthritis symptoms and functional status were assessed at baseline and at 12 months. Postoperative symptoms and function were assessed 6 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months after surgery. For the 174 patients studied (mean age, 75 years; 76% were female, 17% were nonwhite, 69% had knee OA, and 31% had hip OA), the mean Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) score was 56 on a 100-point scale. During a 12-month follow-up, 29% had joint replacement surgery. Of patients who had surgery, no patients died, 17% had postoperative complications, and 38% had postoperative pain lasting more than 4 weeks. The median time to recovery of independence in walking was 12 days and to ability to perform household chores was 49 days, with similar times for patients 65 to 74 years old and those 75 years or older. At 12 months, WOMAC scores improved by 24 points in the patients who had surgery and 0.5 point in the patients who did not have surgery (P < .001); improvements were 19 and 0.3 points in patients 75 or older (P < .001). Among patients who did not have surgery, 45% reported that surgery was not offered as a potential treatment option. Elderly patients who had hip or knee replacements for severe OA took several weeks to recover but experienced excellent long-term outcomes. Physicians often do not discuss joint replacement surgery with elderly patients who might benefit.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2008 · Archives of internal medicine

Publication Stats

6k Citations
1,484.64 Total Impact Points


  • 2008-2015
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1995-2015
    • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
      • • Division of General Medicine and Primary Care
      • • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center
      LEB, New Hampshire, United States
  • 2002-2011
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2001-2002
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Division of Hospital Medicine
      San Francisco, California, United States
  • 2000
    • Duke University
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 1996-2000
    • George Washington University
      • Department of Medicine
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 1996-1997
    • Beverly Hospital, Boston MA
      BVY, Massachusetts, United States