New Costs of Care Fellow: Jess Keim-Malpass, RN, PhD

Jessica Keim-Malpass is a nurse scientist who has a background in implementation of emerging family-centered technologies in the health care setting, health communication, and economic analyses.  She is a pediatric nurse by clinical training and has worked both in the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Virginia, and as a pediatric hematology-oncology and bone marrow transplant nurse at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC.  Her post-doctoral work was in public health sciences and health policy at Wake Forest Baptist Health School of Medicine.  She is currently an associate professor with tenure at the University of Virginia School of Nursing (where she’s been faculty since 2013) with a joint appointment in the University of Virginia School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics.

A message from Jess:

I am overjoyed with excitement to join the Costs of Care team as this year’s Costs of Care Fellow.  I am taking over following Dr. Fumiko Chino’s fellow term, where she has done incredible work developing educational content in the form of webinars and information sharing online via several Costs of Care platforms.

My early dissertation work involved understanding the illness experiences of young people with advanced cancer and many of the young women in my study ranked their financial toxicity worse than their symptom experience with cancer treatment.  I remember stories of women at the end of life considering divorcing their partner so they would not be left with the medical debt. Beyond financial toxicity, I also became acutely aware of the information imbalance and lack of transparency in costs and how infrequently the topic comes up during clinical consultations.  Additionally, I began to understand the cumulative stress of financial uncertainty in shared medical decision making.  Simultaneously, from the clinical perspective, I often felt helpless as a nurse when I could not provide patients adequate responses to what should be straight forward questions such as, “what will this surgery cost me?”

I am incredibly honored to be the first nurse in this Fellow role, as nurses have multiple lenses when it comes to value-based care.  We are actively engaged in shared decision-making with patients, and there is immense potential to modify our own practices in clinical settings to deliver the most effective, family-centered, quality care for our patients.  We often want to engage in cost of care conversations with our patients, or with our clinician colleagues, but don’t have enough information to know where to start ourselves.  I’m so excited to learn from the amazing Costs of Care team and the influential network of medical educators, health systems leaders, and engaged frontline clinicians across various disciplines and medical specialties.  I hope to translate these new perspectives to my future research, clinical practice, and in the classroom where I am educating the next generation of nurses.

Jessica Keim-Malpass, PhD, RN is an associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing with a research focus in understanding how to best optimize and translate the most effective technologies and solutions into practice for patients, families, and providers.  She is a translational nurse scientist at the intersection of biotechnology and family-centered approaches.  Jess also teaches future nurses and nurse scientists.  She lives in Charlottesville, VA with her husband and young son.

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