Late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2017, a 9.6% increase from 2016. Deaths continue to soar, even as states and health systems implement policies to curb the overprescribing of opioids that led to the epidemic in the first place. It’s hard not to be discouraged by these numbers and our failure to reduce overdose deaths. To fully appreciate the shifting dynamics of the opioid crisis, we need to understand both the nature of the policies we are implementing as well as their likely short- and long-term effects.
Tradition can be a great thing, but we need to re-evaluate how the practices and lessons of the past apply to the present. That was one message stressed by Dr. Mark Smith as he delivered Penn LDI’s Charles C. Leighton, MD Memorial Lecture. Dr. Smith, an internal medicine physician, Wharton School and Penn Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program alumnus, and co-chair of the Guiding Committee of the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, shared his insights about what patient “engagement” means in the 21st century. His talk contained more than a few pearls of wisdom.
Researchers are discovering that social media offers a window into the lived experience of patients and their caregivers. Using Yelp reviews about US hospitals, our team at Penn’s Center for Health Care Innovation attempted to give voice to these experiences related to pain management and opioids during recent hospital visits.
A new study in Health Services Research from Penn MSHP alumna Kristin Rising, Penn LDI Adjunct Senior Fellow Brendan Carr, and their colleagues at Jefferson University quantifies something that seems like common sense – patients don’t stick to just one health system for emergency care.
If you want to start an intense debate within the medical community, just talk about duty-hours – the length of a physician-in-training’s shift. Krisda Chaiyachati describes the findings of a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine examining how shift length affects medical trainees' time spent on education, direct patient care, and overall satisfaction. He reflects on his own time as an internal medicine chief resident, and suggests new ways to improve training for medical residents.
As policymakers debate the best way to address pressing health care challenges, one ‘opinion’ that is sometimes drowned out is that of the public. At a recent Penn LDI seminar, Mollyann Brodie, PhD, MS, Senior Vice President for Executive Operations and Executive Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research at the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), underscored the value of public polling when it comes to health care policy and politics.
As part of a campus-wide, week-long ‘Teach-In,’ Penn LDI and the Penn Injury Science Center are co-hosting a session on Firearm Violence: Science, Policy, & Politics. In preparation for the event, our experts provided a “reading list” of studies that focus on the causes and effects of firearm violence in the United States. Together, they represent a good, quick overview of the evidence base that can inform firearm policy. Or at least the conversation about it.
Black men in the United States are disproportionately affected by traumatic injuries. Understanding the emotional consequences of injuries among this population is important for addressing the mental health challenges that may arise after injury. A study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing that was recently published in Injury examines how urban Black men described their emotional responses in the three months after acute traumatic injury.
Practice transformation and payment reform are defining features of contemporary health policy debates. But a new article in Milbank Quarterly by LDI Senior Fellows Lawton R. Burns and Mark V. Pauly poses an uncomfortable question: what if transformation is simply hype?
As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services implement nearly $1.6 billion in cuts to the 340B Drug Pricing Program, a new study by Penn LDI PhD alumna Sunita Desai looks at the consequences of the program, and questions whether it has had its intended effect of helping safety-net hospitals serve poor and vulnerable populations.
The concern that value-based payments will worsen health disparities is not new. Much ink has been spilled about the best way to avoid punishing hospitals that care for disproportionately poor populations, without rewarding poor performance. Two new perspective pieces take a fresh look at the issue, highlighting the potential for value-based payments to reduce disparities rather than to exacerbate them.
The Trump administration recently agreed to let states get tough on Medicaid recipients who don’t work. Kentucky was the first to win approval of a plan to kick those who can work but don’t off the roles, and at least ten other states would like to do the same. However, work requirements will do little to improve the Medicaid program while posing the risk that many people who are fully entitled to benefits would suffer real harm.
At a recent LDI seminar, Nico Pronk, PhD, President of HealthPartners Institute, and Chief Science Officer of HealthPartners, Inc., called for a paradigm shift in how we think about health care in the U.S. “We pay a ton of money for medical care, [but] we don't get a lot of value for that investment. Do we need more medical care, or do we actually need a shift towards more health and well-being?” he asked.