Posted on Aug. 8, 2014 (
Federal Way resident Ray Allis was a great candidate for a stroke study with MultiCare Health System a few years ago.
He had experienced a transient ischemic attack, or “mini stroke,” and was left with ongoing tingling and numbness caused by a blood vessel constriction inside his skull.
During the trial, researchers placed a stent in his head, followed his progress for a year, and, Allis said, “Everything’s beautiful since.”
Caring for individuals
Unsurprisingly, Allis, 75, is delighted with his symptom-free outcome. He said what really impressed him, however, was the way he was treated as a person during the study.
“They really seemed to care about what happened to me as an individual; I really appreciated that,” he said. “I’ve read and I believe that that sort of attitude helps with healing.”
The respect Allis received illustrates a deliberate approach to health care that has been part of MultiCare’s culture for decades.
“MultiCare has built its reputation on patient-centered care and community-based research, with a major emphasis on cancer research,” said Anne Reedy, research director of MultiCare’s Institute for Research and Innovation (MIRI).
“Most recently, we’ve partnered with the federal Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to explore new, innovative ways to engage patients in all aspects of medical research.”
A community-based research event
In July, MIRI hosted a forum with guest speakers from PCORI to promote community-based research and collaborations throughout the Pacific Northwest. More than 80 researchers, researcher administrators, health care leaders, patients and community members attended the July event, “Building a Patient-Centered Research Culture.”
Allis was among the invitees. So was Gary Pederson, a 70-year-old Edgewood man who underwent heart surgery with MultiCare cardiothoracic M.D. Allen Graeve in 2006.
Pederson is hoping to participate in a research study on pulmonary arterial hypertension, a chronic condition he faces. He said he is looking forward to learning more about how patients’ perspectives can help.
“There might be something a patient can add,” he said.
Allis said he appreciated the opportunity to attend the July event, also attended by representatives from multiple hospitals, medical centers and universities.
“The people there weren’t trying to build a reputation, there wasn’t scholarly conflict; they were people who were interested in helping people,” he said.
Patient input essential to future research
Anna Ahrens, MultiCare director of patient and family support services, said she came away from the event inspired to identify more research opportunities partnering with patients, their families and community groups.
“Patients are integral to shaping future research projects that benefit and improve community health,” she said.
MultiCare is currently participating in two PCORI engagement awards: Puget Sound Asthma Coalition and Building a Community of Safe Sleep for Infants.