January 31, 2005
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Jerome Grossman, Director of the Harvard/Kennedy School Health Care Delivery Policy Program, sees productivity research as "the genome of health care delivery." He advocates investing a significant amount of resources in a focused set of projects to create a core knowledge base for designing the health care delivery system, not unlike how research on the human genome has created a core knowledge base for clinical science. This paper first describes some of the current work and methodology of measuring productivity and price indices. The next section describes the more recent focus on episodes of illness and priority conditions and the use of productivity measures as a basis for provider payment. The final section gives specific clinical examples of productivity improvement, describes the many uses to which such research can be put, and sketches next steps for productivity research.
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