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Program Snapshot

The Common Fund’s Health Economics program supported research to identify factors influencing adoption of new innovations in treatments, diagnosis, and preventive strategies; so that past and future investments by NIH may have greater public health impact. To that end the program focused on identifying factors that influence the adoption of high-value health technologies and personalized medicine approaches.

Examples of program research accomplishments include:

  • Expanded research community in health economics that is now being utilized at multiple NIH institutes to address issues in which economic analysis of factors can influence health and the adoption of NIH-supported innovations.
  • Identified factors that influence both optimal adoption of high-value health technologies and phasing out low value technologies.
  • Expanded understanding of preferences from physicians, payers, and patients that impact adoption of personalized medicine approaches. Also assessed the value of these approaches using test cases such as gene testing to inform breast cancer treatment or prescription drug effectiveness.
  • Developed the State Health Practices Database for Research (SHPDR), a resource containing data on state-level statues that can be used with common statistical analysis packages to inform health economics research.

Health economics research promotes a deeper understanding of how stakeholders (patients, providers, health care systems, payers, etc.) value new technologies and interventions aimed at improving health. The value of any NIH-funded biomedical research will ultimately depend on the actions of these participants in the health care system because they determine what interventions are actually delivered and how well they are used. The Health Economics Program identified factors determining adoption of effective health technologies, innovations, and discoveries; as well as discontinued use of lower value or ineffective technologies.

Personalized medicine holds the promise to revolutionize medical practice by taking into account individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology when prescribing treatments for diseases. However, this practice is currently not being used for most diseases. By studying early implementations of personalized medicine, research from this program offered insights into how preferences from health care system participants affect the uptake of this approach as well as the benefits compared to standard one-size-fits-all approaches.

Equally important as the research findings from this program are the tools that have been developed. These resources are being leveraged by individual NIH Institutes and Centers to conduct related, but more disease-focused, research on these questions to optimize the adoption of future biomedical technologies and interventions.

Although Common Fund support for the Health Economics Program has come to a close, trans-NIH interest in health economics research to support turning discovery into health continues in the form of a scientific interest group. NIH staff interested in joining the Health Economics SIG should contact Gregory Bloss (gregory.bloss@nih.gov ).

Program Transition

The Health Economics program has transitioned from Common Fund support. Common Fund programs are strategic investments that achieve a set of high-impact goals within a 5-10 year timeframe. At the conclusion of each program, deliverables transition to other sources of support or use by the broader scientific community. Read the Health Economics close-out report summary.

The Health Economics program was supported by the Common Fund from 2011 to 2017. On September 28-29, 2017 the program hosted a workshop, Turning Discovery into Health: The Contributions of Health Economics Research, to highlight the results of the program and to stimulate ideas for future economic methods that can be applied to the NIH mission. Health economics research remains an area of priority at multiple NIH institutes and centers. For more information see the notice Clarifying NIH Priorities for Health Economics Research.

Please note that since the Health Economics program is no longer supported by the Common Fund, the program website is being maintained as an archive and will not updated on a regular basis. 

State Health Practice Database for Research Website

Stethoscopes and graphsThe SHPDR is a resource of state-level data on health practices that can be used with statistical software and linked with existing health and economic data for hypothesis-driven research. Visit the SHPDR website.

Health Economics Scientific Interest Group

Trans-NIH interest in health economics research has sparked the formation of a scientific interest group. NIH staff interested in joining the Health Economics SIG should contact Gregory Bloss (gregory.bloss@nih.gov).

This page last reviewed on June 4, 2024