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Program Snapshot

The Common Fund’s Health Economics program aims to support theoretical and applied research to understand how innovations in treatments, diagnosis, and preventive strategies can be most effectively deployed to improve health and well-being. Research supported by this program will identify factors determining optimal adoption of highly effective health technologies, innovations, and discoveries, so that past and future investments by NIH may have greater public health impact. The program seeks to investigate which factors are likely to affect the adoption of personalized medicine approaches, including research to understand individual characteristics and preferences of patients and their families, as well as factors influencing health care provider decisions. Understanding these responses will inform the development of future treatments, diagnostic, and preventive strategies to ensure that innovations are implementable in a real world environment. The Health Economics program also aims to build research capacity in health economics so that future NIH-supported research can be informed by economic analysis of factors that influence health and the uptake and adoption of NIH-supported innovations.

Specifically, the program is focused on four goals that aim to:

  • Build research capacity in health economics such that future NIH-supported biomedical research is informed by economic analysis of factors that influence health and the adoption of NIH-supported innovations. 
  • Identify factors that influence optimal adoption of high-value health technologies.
  • Identify factors that influence optimal adoption of personalized medicine approaches.
  • Develop one or more products or tools (e.g., syntheses, guidelines, databases) that address the lack of adequate or available data needed to conduct economic analyses that inform the translation of NIH-supported research into practice within the changing context of the health care system.


Program Highlights

On August 27 and 28, 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Health Economics Common Fund Program and Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) sponsored a workshop on the Economics of Prevention Exit Disclaimer. The goals of the workshop were to discuss the state of the research field, and identify gaps and opportunities to be addressed in future research. The meeting report Exit Disclaimer is now available for download.

On February 25, 2015, the Health Economics Common Fund Program convened a workshop to engage a range of stakeholders in discussions about how NIH-funded research can enhance the role of personalized medicine in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of health care. To view the executive summary, agenda, and attendee list of the meeting, visit the Meeting Page. Read the Full Meeting Summary.

Senior Policy Researcher Dr. Chapin White Exit Disclaimer met with the Health Economics working group to discuss his research into "Designing Health Plan Networks to Steer Patients to Higher-value Providers." A summary of his remarks can be found here.

Study results from Health Economics-funded researcher Jody Sindelar suggest that for low-income individuals, a greater emphasis on the financial costs of smoking could be more effective to motivate quitting than health-related messages. Read the Article Summary.

Noted economist Martin F. Gaynor Exit Disclaimer met with the Health Economics Working Group to discuss his thoughts about the current state of health care markets and areas for future research. A summary of his remarks can be found here.

The Health Economics program announces the publication of a special issue of the Forum for Health Economics & Policy focused on the economics of personalized health care and prevention.

Read more Program Highlights here...

Video: Economist Heidi Williams, 2015 MacArthur FellowCongratulations to Dr. Heidi Williams, a Health Economics grantee recently named to the 2015 class of MacArthur Fellows.
Read about Dr. Williams' research, or click on the image to the right Exit Disclaimer to watch a video on her work developed by the MacArthur Foundation.

Health Economics State Health Practice Database for Research Contract
The Health Economics Program of the Common Fund announces a contract to IMPAQ International, LLC and its subcontractors to design and create a State Health Practice Database for Research (SHPDR). This contract, supported after a competitive review of proposals, will meet the need for state-level data for research on a range of issues affecting health outcomes, in an environment in which health care delivery systems, health care financing, and health care technology are all changing rapidly. The resource resulting from this contract will be a core data set with numeric and categorical variables on health practices that can be used with statistical software, and can be linked with existing health and economic data for hypothesis-driven research. The need for this resource was discussed by experts at a 2010 NIH meeting and elaborated in responses from the scientific community to a Request for Information. Working Group members also consulted with Office of the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation and other HHS agencies to avoid duplication of efforts.


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