J-PAL North America Launches Health Care Delivery Innovation Competition

The health care system touches the lives of every American at every phase of our lives.  We spend about $3 trillion on health care every year, or about 17% of our gross domestic product.  As the Affordable Care Act turns 6 years old, and as technology continues to revolutionize the delivery of health care, dramatic changes in the health care system are unfolding at the federal, state, and local levels.  Despite the best efforts of policymakers, disparities in health care access, quality, and outcomes persist along racial and socioeconomic lines.  No one has more at stake in the success of health reform than the poorest members of society.

An emerging field of research applies rigorous methodology such as randomized control trials to examine what works in health care delivery, and why.  At J-PAL North America, we are committed to advancing this promising research by identifying programs that can improve patients’ quality of life and enhance the sustainability of the health care system.

Today, we are excited to announce a new Health Care Delivery Innovation Competition within our U.S. Health Care Delivery Initiative (HCDI).

The J-PAL Health Care Delivery Innovation Competition supports federal, state, and local government health agencies and other health care organizations in the United States in developing compelling and reliable evidence of innovative programs. The competition supports the design and implementation of randomized evaluations of programs with the potential to serve as models for deploying health and social services to improve health outcomes and enhance the accessibility and affordability of quality health care.

We are looking for visionary leaders interested in using randomized evaluations to generate powerful evidence of the impact of innovative programs, as well as broadly applicable lessons about which programs work best, under what circumstances, and why. We will provide flexible pilot funding, technical assistance and connections with our network of academic experts to support selected applicants in rigorously evaluating their programs.

Evaluations of innovative programs currently supported by HCDI include studies of:

  • A pioneering care coordination program in Camden, New Jersey, in which social workers, nurses and community health workers provide high-utilizing patients with support for ongoing outpatient care and assistance in accessing social programs;
  • A flagship nurse home visiting program in South Carolina in which nurses support low-income, first-time mothers in having a healthy pregnancy and becoming knowledgeable and responsible parents;
  • Interventions providing cost and quality information to consumers on the California and Colorado health insurance exchanges; and
  • A workplace wellness program at a large U.S. firm that incentivizes workers to participate in a year-long package of programs, including team-based diet and exercise challenges, physical activity, nutrition counseling, and stress reduction.

You can read more about our current projects here.

Interested health care leaders are invited to submit a letter of interest to the competition by June 17, 2016. For more information on the competition and how to apply, please visit https://www.povertyactionlab.org/hcdi-innovation-competition.


Author: Quentin Palfrey

Quentin Palfrey is the Executive Director of J-PAL North America, which works to improve the effectiveness of social programs in North America through research, policy outreach, and capacity building. Based at MIT, J-PAL North America seeks to help decision-makers use research evidence in policy decisions and program design and to provide training courses on the value of impact evaluation.

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