Christopher Petrilli, M.D.
Dr. Petrilli is interested in how to improve the utilization of healthcare resources. He co-founded the University of Michigan chapter of Providers for Responsible Ordering with Lauren Heidemann to identify effective and scalable approaches to reduce the overuse of inappropriate testing, treatments and procedures. His current targets to date include continuous cardiac monitoring, echocardiography, thrombophilia testing, "routine" daily labs, perioperative testing and consults, inpatient nebulizer use, immunosuppression and antibiotic drug level testing. All of his work includes employing EHR solutions designed to be seamlessly interwoven into current provider practice and work flow.
- M.D., Georgetown University
- B.S., Business Administration, Georgetown University
Health Services Research & Policy Focus
What are you thinking about?
My goal is to provide patients with all of the care they need and none of the care they don't. My team and I have been looking at multiple areas of overuse and misuse of healthcare resources (laboratory testing, radiology studies, patient monitoring, and therapeutic treatments or procedures) to find the root cause of their overutilization and develop multidisciplinary directed solutions that involve provider education and electronic health record optimization. Our work is housed within a University of Michigan Chapter of Providers for Responsible Ordering, a national organization of health systems with a similar mission. Through our chapter, we hope to make utilization and variation data accessible to providers to allow them to develop insight into their ordering patterns, and in turn help them develop patient-centered solutions to improve the value of care they deliver.
Why is this interesting to you?
As a self-described tech guru, I have greatly enjoyed the many advancements in technology in recent years on a personal and professional level. Sometimes, however, that technology has replaced good clinical judgment, and patients often now come to expect advanced imaging, invasive procedures, and other inappropriate workups without a real indication. Hospitals frequently advertise about the latest and greatest scanner or robotic equipment at their facility, and therefore patients often demand that advanced, “high-tech” resources be used to investigate symptoms that can be explained by clinical history alone. However, these unnecessary tests often have significant immediate financial and unintended downstream consequences such as false positive results, further invasive testing, or increased insurance premiums for a new medical problem that would not have otherwise impacted the patient’s lifestyle. The overuse of these tests is compounded by the seemingly unlimited supply and ease of inappropriate testing for hospitalized patients. And unfortunately, for outpatient providers, it is often easier to simply order an unnecessary diagnostic test, which makes the patient happy in the short run and keeps their very busy clinic schedule running more smoothly.
What are the practical implications for healthcare?
My long-term operational and research goal is to improve the health and well-being of our patients while decreasing the overall costs of our healthcare system. While investment in healthcare is vital to our country, at current unsustainable spending levels the opportunity cost for other infrastructural spending is too great. Given the rapidly changing environment, studying the ordering behavior of providers and developing novel solutions to prevent inappropriate healthcare spending will be vital to the sustainability of our local and national healthcare systems.