Global Health Systems

The analysis of different national models of health systems and how they measure up in achieving equitable access to health care and improving health outcomes. 

Can New Technology Improve Medication Choices?

Feb. 23, 2021

Prescribing harmful combinations of drugs is an all-too-frequent occurrence, particularly in fragmented health care systems where a patient’s care is spread across multiple physicians and organizations. In a new analysis, my colleagues and I report on what happened to harmful prescribing when Finland implemented a new, nationwide e-prescribing system. We show that new information technology can have a substantial impact by improving information flows between different physicians involved in a patient’s care.

Regulating Prescription Drug Prices

Feb. 2, 2021

In the perennial debate over drug pricing, U.S. policymakers have proposed lowering domestic prices by tying them in some way to international prices. But policymakers seem less interested in understanding or adapting the regulatory frameworks that produce these lower prices in other countries.

Developing the eMedical Student (eMS)-A Pilot Project Integrating Medical Students Into the Tele-ICU During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Jan. 14, 2021

Joshua Ho, Philip Susser, Cindy Christian, Horace DeLisser, Michael J. Scott, Lynn A. Pauls, Ann M. Huffenberger, C. William Hanson 3rd, John M. Chandler, Lee A. FleisherKrzysztof Laudanski

Abstract [from journal]

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for virtual healthcare delivery and highlighted the scarcity of telehealth medical student curricula, particularly tele-critical care. In partnership with the Penn E-lert program and the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) established a tele-ICU rotation to support the care of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The four-week course had seven elements: (1) 60 h of clinical engagement; (2) multiple-choice


Comparing Health Outcomes of Privileged US Citizens With Those of Average Residents of Other Developed Countries

Dec. 28, 2020

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Emily Gudbranson, Jessica Van Parys, Mette Gørtz, Jon Helgeland, Jonathan Skinner

Abstract [from journal]

Importance: The average health outcomes in the US are not as good as the average health outcomes in other developed countries. However, whether high-income US citizens have better health outcomes than average individuals in other developed countries is unknown.

Objective: To assess whether the health outcomes of White US citizens living in the 1% and 5% richest counties (hereafter referred to as privileged White US citizens) are better than the health outcomes of average residents in other


Disruptions in Preventive Care: Mammograms During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nov. 4, 2020

Hummy Song, Alon Bergman, Angela T. Chen, Dan Ellis, Guy David, Ari B. Friedman, Amelia M. Bond, Julie M. Bailey, Ronald Brooks, Aaron Smith‐McLallen

Abstract [from journal]

Objective: To measure the extent to which the provision of mammograms was impacted by the COVID‐19 pandemic and surrounding guidelines.

Data Sources: De‐identified summary data derived from medical claims and eligibility files were provided by Independence Blue Cross for women receiving mammograms.

Study Design:


Oral Health in the Global Push for Universal Health Coverage

Sep. 29, 2020

The essential nature of dental care was evident when many dental clinics across the United States closed in Spring 2020 due to the pandemic. Patients with dental emergencies (commonly tooth infections with painful orofacial abscesses) were triaged via telemedicine or given temporary solutions, such as antibiotics and analgesics, until dental offices could be reopened and provide more permanent solutions (i.e., root canal treatment or extraction).

Psychological Reactance Is A Novel Risk Factor For Adolescent Antiretroviral Treatment Failure

Robert Gross, MD, MSCE
Aug. 4, 2020

Elizabeth Lowenthal, Mitchelle Matesva, Tafireyi Marukutira, One Bayani, Jennifer Chapman, Ontibile Tshume, Mogomotsi Matshaba, Meredith Hickson, Robert Gross

Abstract [from journal]

Psychological reactance is an aversive response to perceived threats against personal agency. For adolescents receiving HIV treatment in Botswana, we utilized a two-question, medication-specific reactance tool to assess whether: (1) verbal reminders to take medicines made adolescents want to avoid taking them, and, (2) whether adolescents felt anger when reminded to take medicines. Reactant adolescents had 2.05-fold (95% CI 1.23, 3.41) greater odds of treatment failure than non-reactant adolescents (p = 0.03). Adjusted risk of


Unemployment Insurance And Food Insecurity Among People Who Lost Employment In The Wake Of COVID-19

Jul. 30, 2020

Julia Raifman, Jacob Bor, Atheendar Venkataramani

Abstract [from journal]

Forty million U.S. residents lost their jobs in the first two months of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In response, the Federal Government expanded unemployment insurance benefits in both size ($600/week supplement) and scope (to include caregivers and self-employed workers). We assessed the relationship between unemployment insurance and food insecurity among people who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic in the period when the federal unemployment insurance supplement was in place. We analyzed data from


Payment and Pricing Decisions in Health Care Reform

Issue Brief
Jun. 23, 2020

Any effort to reform health insurance in the United States must tackle the prices we pay for health care. There are many complex challenges to addressing prices. Some proposals build on the existing Medicare fee schedule, while others suggest promoting alternative payment mechanisms—or even starting from scratch. The stakes are substantial, as many reform proposals rely on reining in prices to achieve the savings necessary to expand health insurance to the uninsured. At Penn’s LDI Medicare for All and Beyond conference, a panel of researchers, hospital administrators, and policy experts considered issues related to health care payment and pricing that any health care reform proposal must address, including the implications of rate setting for providers and patients. At what level should these rates be set to assure access and quality of care, while incentivizing innovation and rewarding excellence?

A Pilot Randomized Trial Of Incentive Strategies To Promote HIV Retesting In Rural Uganda

May. 29, 2020

Gabriel Chamie, Alex Ndyabakira, Kara G. Marson, Devy M. Emperador, Moses R. Kamya, Diane V. Havlir, Dalsone Kwarisiima, Harsha Thirumurthy

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Retesting for HIV is critical to identifying newly-infected persons and reinforcing prevention efforts among at-risk adults. Incentives can increase one-time HIV testing, but their role in promoting retesting is unknown. We sought to test feasibility and acceptability of incentive strategies, including commitment contracts, to promote HIV retesting among at-risk adults in rural Uganda.

Methods: At-risk HIV-negative adults were enrolled in a pilot trial assessing feasibility and


Policy Options for Financing Long-Term Care in the U.S.

Issue Brief
Apr. 15, 2020

Unlike many other developed nations, the U.S. has no system that protects its residents against the high costs of long-term care, which many people will need as they age. Medicaid coverage kicks in only after families have exhausted their resources. Until then, families bear the financial and caregiving burden of LTC themselves. In the absence of a national system, several states have considered or passed programs that offer some support for LTC. Many peer nations have more comprehensive systems to spread the risk for LTC costs across their population, through social insurance or other mechanisms. This Issue Brief reviews international models of financing LTC, as well as recent state efforts, to help U.S. policymakers design a program that can meet the LTC challenges of an aging population.