Investigator of the Month (December 2023): Kathryn Agarwal, MD

Kathryn Agarwal headshot

Dr. Kathryn Agarwal

Dr. Kathryn Agarwal received her MD from Baylor College of Medicine and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics at Baylor. The focus of her academic career is the development and implementation of programs to improve the care of hospitalized older adults. From 2012-2016, Dr. Agarwal served as content expert for a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CCMI)-funded program. The aim of this program is reducing delirium incidence, and decreasing delirium-related burden and costs of care. Ultimately, the program saved an estimated $51 million for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The strong pharmacy and nursing programs developed from the CMMI program have been supported by Houston Methodist (HM) since 2016. Also, Dr. Agarwal leads the System Delirium Committee with programs at each HM hospital. Specifically, these hospitals: (1) administer twice daily delirium screening for all people over 70 with 95% adherence; (2) maintain low usage of high-risk medications; and (3) have developed robust data resources across their system, including acute care and ICU delirium screening results on over 80,000 patients annually, and potentially inappropriate medication usage reports. HM is recognized as an Age-Friendly Health System. As such, it continues to improve the care of older adults through reducing delirium burden.

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