Another successful and energizing Annual Research Meeting is well underway. AcademyHealth staff are covering sessions throughout the conference. Also, stay tuned for thematic blog posts on a series of themes that will emerge throughout the conference. This blog series will be posted after the conclusion of the ARM.

End of Journals?

Chair: Erin Holve; Speakers: Ruth Carlos, Aaron Carroll, Hal Luft

Following this year’s first-ever opening plenary, the session “End of Journals?” focused on the recent push for open science to facilitate faster conduct and dissemination of research has raised questions about the future role of peer-reviewed journals. Chair Erin Holve and the session panelists debated how journals, open data resources, and other media can work together to disseminate evidence, engage end-users of the work, and promote collaboration to spur new discoveries. Panelists discussed the role of journals in health services research, the cost of journals, and the leadership behind publishing.

Questions raised by session attendees included:

  • How much should we promote open science?
  • How should researchers express the need for a peer-review process?

This conversation is central to AcademyHealth’s dedication to move knowledge into action through synthesis, translation, dissemination, and technical assistance.

Massachusetts Health Reform 10 Years Later

Chair: John McDonough; Speakers: Stuart Altman, Sharon Long, Audrey Shelto

The session “Massachusetts Health Reform 10 Years Later” was moderated by this year’s ARM Planning Committee Chair John McDonough. The session discussed the ways in which Massachusetts health reform provided the conceptual model for the Affordable Care Act and shared lessons learned from Massachusetts health reform ten years later. Speaker Sharon Long discussed health reform for nonelderly adults; Audrey Shelto spoke about similarities and differences between health reform in Massachusetts and in the United States and needed attention on health care affordability; and Stuart Altman highlighted Massachusetts concern with total health care spending, encompassing Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance.

The panel left plenty of time for audience questions:

  • What should states aiming to build a health system similar to Massachusetts pay attention to?
  • How can we continue to pay attention to both health care coverage and health care access?

This session aligns with AcademyHealth’s pursuit of lower costs and high value from the health care system.

Effect of Financial Incentives on Physicians, Patients, or Both on Lipid Levels

Chair: Tim Doran; Speakers: David Asch, Kevin Volpp, Martin Roland, Andrew Ryan

One of the day’s last sessions, “Article of The Year: Effect of Financial Incentives on Physicians, Patients, or Both on Lipid Levels,” analyzed and debated the winning paper of the 2016 Article-of-the-Year Award, which found that shared incentives resulted in greater adherence to treatment and also led to modest but statistically significant reductions in cholesterol levels compared to controls, whereas incentives offered to physicians or patients alone did not. Co-authors David Asch and Kevin Volpp presented the findings of their randomized clinical trial of the effect of financial incentives offered to primary care physicians, patients, or both on reducing levels of LDL cholesterol in patients with high cardiovascular risk.

The session was a packed house, and session attendees raised the following questions:

  • Is depression playing a role in terms of engagement of a patient taking ownership of their health?
  • Is it possible that physicians and patients interacted together in this study?

This year’s Article of the Year session and study represent AcademyHealth’s belief that policies affecting health and the performance of the health system should be informed by the best and most relevant evidence.

Direct Observation Methods for Dissemination and Implementation Research

Megan McCullough, Bo Kim, Gemmae Fix

During this Innovation Station-hosted workshop, Drs. McCullough, Kim, and Fix took a didactic approach with attendees to explore direct observation, a qualitative and quantitative method used in health services research and implementation science that can provide direct insight for researchers into the environment being studied. Its benefits include capturing routinized, unconscious behavior; providing (work/life) context of staff or a medical center; and documenting a process, behavior, or interaction. Using a clip of documentary “The Waiting Room” as a simulation of real life, McCullough, Kim, and Fix allowed participants the opportunity to experience observation for themselves.

  • Rather than employing standard Q&A, speakers convened teams to discuss the video, including raising which elements stood out and determining the research questions that could be asked (and answered) based on what all was featured in the video.

AcademyHealth always strives to be responsive to the evolving methods needed to inform evidence. Direct observation is among the many methods, both quantitative and qualitative, that researchers can use to inform evidence-based policy.

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