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In our research, we distinguish between policy and network interventions. A policy intervention is a type of an action that involves design, revision, implementation or translation of a health policy for reducing costs and for improving health outcomes, healthcare access and quality. A network intervention refers to an action that involves altering an existing network of care, including networks consisting of medical facilities. For instance a network intervention could be designed to achieve more equitable access and better healthcare coverage.
What We Do
One important aspect in the discourse of attainment of equity in health and healthcare is the trade-off between the three Es: Efficiency, Effectiveness and Equity. Generally, efficiency measures how well the system is utilizing its resources and effectiveness is a measure of how well the system meets a need or achieves an objective. In our research projects, we use optimization models to account for the trade-off between the three Es in designing policy and network interventions to improve healthcare access and health outcomes.
Network interventions for Improving Access
Network interventions for improving healthcare access include opening new facilities or expanding the capacity at some of the existing facilities given an expanded budget. The set of decisions to be made in a network intervention can be complex as the principal objectives to be achieved can be conflicting. For instance, facilities may be opened or expanded to provide the best benefit for the society. However, this result could lead to specific geographic areas to have inadequate access to healthcare. We investigate the impact of such decisions and consider the impact of designing network interventions for efficiency, equity, or a combination of factors.
A value-based model for designing interventions requires assessment of their cost-effectiveness, which is an analysis of the benefits of an intervention given the costs, including not only financial costs but also number of years of life saved or quality of life. We consider cost-effectiveness analysis in which costs, benefits, and effectiveness of various components of the network interventions are weighted in quantifying the value added by the interventions. Within our current research, we have particularly focused on telemedicine programs, which are becoming common network interventions in improving geographic access to care.