Through the Research Insights project, AcademyHealth convenes invitational meetings, holds webinars, and produces reports and issue briefs to foster discussion of existing, relevant research evidence among policy audiences who need it to implement health reform and develop new policy.
Reports & Publications
Paying for Value: Progress and Obstacles
Public and private policymakers are increasingly committed to using provider payment as a tool to improve clinical quality, patients’ experience of care, and efficient use of resources. Since the turn of the millennium, significant gains have been made in measuring and incentivizing improvements in quality and patient experience. More recently, payers have also stepped up efforts to collect information about costs and resource use and to devise payment strategies to encourage efficiency. The concept of value has emerged as a single metric that joins the dimensions of quality and efficiency and is now a primary focus of payment policy in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.
Health Plan Features: Implications of Narrow Networks and the Trade-Off between Price and Choice
The use of narrow provider networks in health insurance plans is a cost containment strategy that has gained popularity of late. Network design features differ among plans, but insurers generally seek to offer lower premiums by limiting the group of providers available to plan enrollees. As interest in the use of narrow networks has increased, so have concerns about their effect on consumers’ choices, cost, and access to care. With the growth of narrow network plans, it is important to understand the effectiveness of existing and emerging network design strategies and the potential for policies to ensure consumer access to high-quality care.
The Demand Side: Consumer-Focused Strategies to Improve Health System Outcomes
Policymakers and payers are increasingly interested in the potential for consumers and purchasers to improve health outcomes and control costs through their own health care decision-making. Strategies that focus on the “demand-side” include: value-based insurance design, wellness programs, high-deductible insurance plans, price transparency, and shared decision-making. These strategies aim to improve value in health care by helping consumers and purchasers differentiate between high- and low-value services, by making consumers more cost-conscious shoppers for services and insurance coverage, and by raising consumers’ awareness about the consequences of health behaviors.
Training & Resources
Implications of Narrow Networks and the Tradeoff between Price and Choice
Insurers may offer narrow network plans to attract price-sensitive consumers who are willing to trade off network breadth for less costly premiums. Yet, anecdotal evidence suggests that the resulting provider networks may be narrower than expected, leaving consumers vulnerable to the financial burden of out-of-network care. This free webinar addressed the potential policy responses to the growth of narrow network plans and identified where more evidence is needed, to inform researchers and decision makers.
Costs, Quality, and Provider Integration in the Local Health Care Marketplace: What Can Research and Recent Experience Tell State Policymakers
Many state officials have expressed concern over the unprecedented number of hospital mergers during the last decade. More recently, hospital systems have begun purchasing or partnering with various practitioners in an attempt to improve quality and restrain costs through clinical integration. This webinar examined what research tells us about the implications of provider concentration and integration, and included presentations from policymakers in two states that have adopted innovative policy approaches.