Faculty affiliates are currently working on several health policy studies.
Pay-for-Performance and Quality of Care: Center faculty members have conducted studies on the design and implementation of pay-for-performance programs for improving quality of care. In support of this research, investigators received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Hospital Community Benefits: Center affiliates are using financial reports that tax-exempt hospitals are required to file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to examine patterns in the delivery of community benefits such as charity care and community-based health promotion activities. Using these data, faculty members conducted the first national assessment of community benefits provided by tax-exempt hospitals, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In collaboration with a research team based at George Washington University, the researchers received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a web-based tool and related set of measures for examining patterns in tax-exempt hospitals’ provision of community benefits.
Hospital Supply Chain: Center associates are conducting studies to identify best practices for managing hospital supply chains and the factors associated with supply chain management as a core competency for hospitals. Faculty members received funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs to study best practices and improvement opportunities for inventory management.
Opioid Addiction: Center affiliates are investigating different approaches for treating and reducing the risk of opioid addiction. One study, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, focuses on physician prescribing practices for opioids including Suboxone, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). Another study is supported by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT and evaluates the use of educational messaging and financial incentives for reducing the use and misuse of prescription opioid medication. Investigators were also awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for developing techniques for causal inference in large-scale studies with applications for improving treatment quality of OUD. Using large-scale US healthcare data, the project will develop tractable computational approaches to facilitate better policy decision-making.
Hospital-Physician Integration: Center faculty members are conducting research addressing the performance implications for hospitals of employing physicians directly or through practice acquisitions. In a recently completed study, published in Health Affairs, faculty reported that hospital employment of primary care physicians was associated with higher rates of inappropriate diagnostic imaging.
Medicare Quality Ratings: Center associates have examined the quality ratings that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services use for prescription drug plans participating in the Medicare Part D program. One such study, published in Health Affairs, investigated the influence of the socioeconomic characteristics of a plan’s enrollees on its quality ratings for medication adherence.
Low Value Care: Center faculty are investigating healthcare services that offer relatively little value in terms of health benefits. A recently completed project, funded by the National Institute for Health Care Management, focused on inappropriate diagnostic imaging services. In this study, researchers used the Massachusetts All Payer Database to examine inappropriate diagnostic imaging based on guidelines from the American College of Radiology.