Tanner Caverly

Tanner Caverly, MD, MPH

Associate Professor of Learning Health Sciences
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Accepting HILS PhD Students? Yes
Accepting PIBS Students? No


Tanner Caverly is an Assistant Professor of Learning Health Sciences and Internal Medicine. He studies how to deliver high-value care in primary care settings, while also minimizing the use of low-value services. Currently, he is studying how decision support can help personalize screening decisions within the intense time-constraints of primary care practice, where there is typically < 5 minutes to discuss preventive services with patients. Without better support for PCPs, the limited time and competing demands that PCPs face will continue to result in decisions about screening and prevention that are made without at all considering the degree of individual benefit or a patient’s preferences and context.

Outside of work he is most often wrangling 3 fiercely independent children along with his wife, who is also a physician-scientist at U-M. When he is not doing that, he is either reading a book (only the best fiction or non-fiction), taking a walk outside, or sleeping.

Areas of Interest

Research and scholarly interests: Medical decision making, risk communication, cancer screening and prevention, evidence-based medicine, decision support, democratic deliberation methods

Subject-matter expertise: Cancer screening and prevention, risk communication, shared decision making, designing tools that help translate trial evidence into high-value and collaborative decision making between patients and health care professionals 

Other professional highlights:

  • Section Editor, “Teachable Moments,” JAMA Internal Medicine 
  • OPCC Working Group: Design and implementation of the Optimizing Patient Care Curriculum (OPCC), 
        University of Michigan Medical School. This working group seeks to integrate 
        evidence-based medicine, patient-centered communication, and shared decision 
        making as a longitudinal curriculum throughout all 4 years of medical school.
  • Co-Founder: “Do No Harm Project.” This award-winning project seeks to promote recognition of harms from overuse. See website for further information: http://lowninstitute.org/take-action/the-do-no-harm-project/


VA QUERI Lowery (PI) 10/1/2015-9/30/2019 
Annual Direct Costs: $800,000 
PeRsonalizing Options for Veteran Engagement 
Goals: Test the ability of two novel implementation strategies to promote guidelines for personalized shared decision making in lung cancer screening. 
Role: Co-Principal Investigator 

VHA HSR&D IIR Kerr (PI) 01/01/2016 – 06/30/2019 
Annual Direct Costs: $1,099,400 
Identifying, Measuring, and Facilitating Opportunities for De-intensification of Medical Services 
Percent Effort: 1.2 calendar months 
Major Goals: The proposed study will: 1) Identify and validate clinical indications for de-intensification in primary care (Aim 1); 2) Assess prevalence of and variance in indicated de-intensification in VHA (Aim 2); and 3) Develop multi-level strategies to disseminate and implement indications for de-intensification (Aim 3). This will be the first study to develop a reproducible method to identify, validate, and measure indications for de-intensification of medical services in primary care and the quality gaps represented by missed opportunities for decreasing unnecessary and potentially harmful care. 
Role: Co-Investigator

Published Articles or Reviews

  • Caverly TJ, Hayward RA, Reamer E, Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Heisler M, Connochie D, Fagerlin A. Presentation of Benefits and Harms in US Cancer Screening and Prevention Guidelines: A Systematic Review. J Natl Cancer Inst. (In press) 
  • Caverly TJ, Matlock DD, Prochazka AV, Lucas BP, and Hayward RA. Interpreting trial outcomes for optimal patient care: Survey of clinicians and trainees. J Grad Med Educ. (In press)
  • Caverly TJ, Fagerlin A, Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Kirsh SR, Kullgren JT, Prenovost K, Kerr EA. Appropriate Prescribing for Diabetic Patients at High-risk for Hypoglycemia: National Survey of VA Primary Care Providers. JAMA IM. 2015 Dec 1;175(12):1994-6. PMID:26502113 
  • Caverly TJ, Kerr EA, Saini SD. Delivering Patient-Centered Cancer Screening: Easier Said Than Done. Amer J Prev Med. 2016 Jan;50(1):118-21. PMID:26456874 
  • Lau YK. Caverly TJ, Cherng ST, Cao P, West M, Arenberg D, Meza R. Evaluation of a personalized, web-based decision aid for lung cancer screening. Amer J Prev Med. 2015 Dec;49(6):e125-9. PMID:26456873 
  • Caverly TJ, and co-authors. Doctors and Numbers: An Assessment of the Critical Risk Interpretation Test. Med Decis Making. 2015 May;35(4):512-24.