The mission of the Health Economics Program (HEP) is to support health economics research within the Feinberg School of Medicine.
The Health Economics Program (HEP) in the Center for Healthcare Studies was established in 2007 and is comprised of a group of health economists at Northwestern University. The HEP provides a centralized and recognizable resource to support health economics research within the medical school community. Services can be provided on a collaborative basis, where the effort required for health economics support is included in a grant submission, or on a consultative basis with an hourly fee. Initial consultations to learn more about the HEP or to discuss the role of a health economist for a research project are free of charge.
Healthcare costs in the United States are higher than most developed countries when considered as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These costs continue to rise and consume a larger share of GDP. Rising healthcare expenditures are recognized as a serious problem in the United States. These factors contribute to the role of health economics research in US medical schools.
Because of these rising healthcare costs, healthcare funding organizations are often faced with difficult decisions on how to or whether to pay for an intervention or program. Organizations in the US are now interested in information on the value of an intervention or program in addition to its effectiveness. Therefore, there has been an increased growth in health economics research in an effort to assess the scope of the problem through analysis of the cost or burden of disease as well as understanding the cost-effectiveness of interventions.
Because this information is of interest to funders of healthcare, the demand for health economics research is expected to continue to grow. Grant funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) and private foundations have funded research proposals that contain an economic component for many years. Grant funding for this type of research will likely continue as reducing the spiraling costs of healthcare remains a policy priority.
As academic researchers continue to realize that examining costs and cost-effectiveness in their research may increase the strength of their grant applications, the need for internal or local support for facilitating these studies is important. Because this support is not always readily identifiable, we developed the Health Economics Program at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to provide a centralized and recognizable resource to support health economics research within the medical school community.
Investigators in the HEP are available to serve as collaborators on research projects and provide support for health economic analyses. The types of services that can be provided range from pre-funding to post-funding activities. Services can be provided on a collaborative basis, where the effort required for health economic support is included in a grant submission, or on a consultative basis with an hourly fee. Initial consultations to learn more about the HEP or to discuss the role of a health economist for a research project are free of charge.
In the pre-funding stages of a project the health economist could be involved in the following:
- Hypothesis development
- Study design
- Identifying relevant methods or instruments for the measurement of the health economic-related outcomes
- Provide expertise on health economic data and other datasets that may be available to the investigator
- Grant writing, including preparation of the health economics section, identifying relevant literature, and incorporating health economic theory
Post-funding, the health economist could collaborate with the investigator on:
- Development of data collection forms for the health economic data
- Training study staff on the administration of health economic instruments
- Participate in quality assurance work on data collected during the study
- Conduct the health economic analyses
- Assist with reporting the health economic analysis via posters, presentations and publications
Neil Jordan, PhD
Dustin French, PhD
Daniel Pinto, PT, PhD
Kathryn Jackson, MS
Statistical Analyst & Programmer
Center for Healthcare Studies
633 N. St. Clair, 20th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611