HHS Secretary names UO researcher to national health advisory panel

December 03, 2004

EUGENE-The Secretary of Health and Human Services has appointed a University of Oregon professor, Judith Hibbard, to serve on a national advisory council aimed at improving the national health care system.

The National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality (NACHRQ) improves the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of health care services for the public by providing advice and recommendations to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Members are selected based on their expertise and involvement in critical health care policy issues. Members include health care plan providers, researchers and consumers, as well as representatives from federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.

"There is a growing recognition that it will be essential to engage consumers as partners in the solutions to health care problems," says Hibbard, whose research has been influential in shaping this new policy focus.

Hibbard, a professor of planning, public policy and management, studies consumer roles in health care, with a particular interest in how individuals can, through their own actions and choices, obtain a higher quality of care.

She and colleagues at the University of Oregon are currently conducting a study that examines the assumption that underlies consumer driven health plans-that consumers will make more cost-effective health care choices if they are given the information they need and if they are required to pay more out of pocket for their care. The UO study examines how consumers behave when they have information on differences in health care costs and health care quality. Hibbard says more informed consumer decisions could ultimately improve health care and lower costs for both consumers and their employers. The study will examine this and other assumptions about how consumers who participate in these health plans behave.

In another study, which compares hospitals on complication and death rates, Hibbard is assessing how both consumers and hospitals react when hospital performance is made public. Do consumers change their views about hospital quality based on this information? Do hospitals try to improve their care? Such public reporting on health care quality is another example of engaging consumers as part of the solution to health care dilemmas, she says.

Hibbard is involved in a number of national efforts to improve the quality of care within health care delivery systems and serves on advisory boards to the National Health Care Quality Forum, the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the Oregon Commission for Patient Safety.
-end-
Hibbard's research is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others.

CONTACT: Pauline Austin, (541) 346-3129, paustin@uoregon.edu

SOURCE: Judith Hibbard, (541) 346-3364, jhibbard@uoregon.edu

LINK: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~jhibbard

University of Oregon

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