Health Care Delivery Initiative Spotlight: Health Care Hotspotting

J-PAL North America’s Health Care Delivery Initiative (HCDI) supports research on how to make health care in the United States more efficient and effective. In order to increase support of healthcare research, J-PAL has recently launched the Health Care Delivery Innovation Competition, which will connect health providers to funds and research support in order to carry out randomized evaluations to study innovative programs. As health care costs rise throughout the United States, policymakers are searching for ways to reduce costs while improving the quality of care.

HCDI support has made possible a number of groundbreaking studies about health care delivery, including a randomized evaluation by Jeffrey Brenner (Camden Coalition), J-PAL affiliate Joseph Doyle (MIT), J-PAL affiliate Amy Finkelstein (MIT), Sarah Taubman, and Annetta Zhou (Harvard).

Jeffrey Brenner; Camden Coalition
Camden Coalition offices and team in Camden, NJ, January 20, 2014. (Credit: Lynsey Addario)

Five percent of the U.S. population accounts for more than half of health care expenditures. To reduce the costs incurred by these individuals, there is particular interest in health care interventions targeting high-cost patients. Healthcare “hotspotting” identifies these high-cost individuals and provides them with additional outpatient care and support.

In a randomized evaluation, the researchers are studying the effects of a hotspotting program in Camden, NJ, a lower-income city with many individuals living below the poverty line. The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers was featured in Atul Gawande’s New Yorker piece, “The Hot Spotters.” Participants in the evaluation are randomly assigned to a treatment group that receives the care management intervention or a control group. The forthcoming results will analyze the impact of the intervention on the patients’ health outcomes.

Jeffrey Brenner; Camden Coalition
Members of the Camden Coalition team make home visits to patients around Camden, NJ, February 7, 2014. (Credit: Lynsey Addario)

To hear an interview with Finkelstein and Brenner on Freakonomics Radio, click here.

Visit the J-PAL North America website for the full evaluation summary as well as more information about the Health Care Delivery Innovation Competition. Register for our first webinar to be held on April 15, 2016, at 10:00 am – 11:00 am, and our second webinar to be held on May 19, 2016, at 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

Author: J-PAL North America

J-PAL North America seeks to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. We do this through research, outreach, and training. We collaborate with decision-makers to generate clear, scientific evidence on which approaches work and why. We catalyze and support randomized evaluations, communicate evidence to help translate research into action, and build policymakers’ capacity to create and use evidence.

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