OHSU takes big step into health reform implementation

11/26/12  Portland, Ore.

Increased capacity for ‘delivery system science’ one key to reform success

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) today announced the receipt of a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a gift from Phil and Barbara Silver that will combine to strengthen OHSU’s capacity to analyze health reform efforts and contribute to bending the cost curve down.

The $2.26 million grant from NIH will focus on studying Oregon’s Health Care Transformation – specifically the implementation of the Coordinated Care Organizations, or CCOs. The lead researcher is John McConnell, Ph.D., Director of OHSU’s Center for Health Systems Effectiveness (CHSE). “There has been a great deal of interest nationally on how Oregon’s CCO experiment is going to work. This grant will allow us to take a deep dive into the hows, whys, and wheres of CCOs – which CCOs are high performers, how savings are accrued, and what the effects are on quality.”

The gift from Phil and Barbara Silver, also $2.26 million, will support Dr. McConnell’s work and strengthen the CHSE. “We are particularly excited about expanding the health economics capacity at OHSU – we think our work here will provide critical information for the State and the rest of the country,” McConnell said. “What appeals to me about John McConnell’s work is that he is applying rigorous, data-driven analysis to a subject that tends to get mired in politics,” said Phil Silver.

Together, the gift and grant are expected to strengthen OHSU’s capacity for what OHSU President Robertson calls “delivery system science.” “One of the best hopes for improving outcomes at lower cost is to study the health care system analytically and apply what we learn. In short, process engineering for the health care industry,” Robertson said. “That may not sound glamorous but the impact will be profound. Between the excellent work of John McConnell as well as the application of evidence to both practice and policy, OHSU has the resources to make a difference in this debate.”

About OHSU

Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only academic health and research university. As Portland's largest employer with nearly 14,000 employees, OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support not found anywhere else in the state. OHSU serves patients from every corner of Oregon and is a conduit for learning for more than 4,300 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.

About CHSE

The Center for Health Systems Effectiveness was officially designated as an OHSU research organization in June 2011. The Center undertakes research to achieve the Triple Aim of improving the population health, improving patient experience, and reducing the per capita costs of care. The Center focuses on quantitative analyses, with a particular emphasis on state health policy and health economics.