Health Services & Economics

"The greatest challenge in health care is to deliver better quality care without raising its cost. That’s where we’re focusing our research.”

David Arterburn, MD, MPH
Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator
Group Health Physician, Internal Medicine

Research overview

Group Health research covers many fields, but much of what we do is health services research. That means we’re studying what really works—and what doesn't—in health care, with a focus on achieving the Triple Aim: better population health, improved patient experience, and lower health care costs.

“Reducing the growth in health care spending requires improving the quality and timeliness of care and decreasing low-value care, which doesn’t improve health and may actually be harmful,” says Robert Penfold, PhD, an associate investigator at Group Health Research Institute (GHRI).

It all starts with Group Health’s learning health system, where research and practice work side by side to inform and improve each other. Researchers benefit from Group Health’s comprehensive capture of rich information about patients’ health, use of health care, and costs. Clinical leaders benefit from rigorous evaluations of novel innovations in care delivery and provider reimbursement.

“Together, we are learning what it takes to quickly translate what works into our health system—and track the long-term effects on outcomes that matter to patients, clinicians, and policymakers,” says David Arterburn, MD, MPH, a senior investigator. Here are just a few examples:

  • Our research on shared decision making helps people understand all of their treatment options and make the decisions that are right for them. So they get the care they want and no more; the care they need and no less.
  • Curbing overdiagnosis and overtreatment is important, because getting too much of some types of health care can be as harmful as not getting enough. Group Health is on the leading edge of initiatives to avoid harmful overuse of care. And we’re carefully evaluating these innovations, such as Choosing Wisely and value-based insurance design.
  • We’re studying other care models, including accountable care organizations, a payment and delivery model designed to encourage groups of providers to form coalitions.
  • The rapidly rising cost of pharmacotherapy is one of the most challenging problems in all of medicine. We’re researching how best to price medications in ways that encourage patient adherence to treatment, improve long-term health outcomes, and lower total costs of care.

The impact of our health services research reaches far beyond the Group Health system and helps to shape care and policy throughout our region and beyond. For added diversity and statistical power, GHRI joins with partners in the Health Care Systems Research Network and other national and international collaborations.

GHRI’s MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation has helped to spread the Chronic Care Model around the world, guiding quality improvement efforts for diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. The MacColl Center is also addressing health care workforce issues, stopping low-value care, and helping to transform the U.S. health care system.

Recent publications on Health Services & Economics

Bensley KM, Harris AH, Gupta S, Rubinsky AD, Jones-Webb R, Glass JE, Williams EC. Racial/ethnic differences in initiation of and engagement with addictions treatment among patients with alcohol use disorders in the Veterans Health Administration. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2017;73:27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2016.11.001. Epub 2016 Nov 11. PubMed

US Preventive Services Task Force, Bibbins-Domingo K, Grossman DC, Curry SJ, Davidson KW, Epling JW Jr, García FA, Herzstein J, Kemper AR, Krist AH, Kurth AE, Landefeld CS, Mangione CM, Phillips WR, Phipps MG, Pignone MP, Silverstein M, Tseng CW. Screening for obstructive sleep apnea in adults: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2017 Jan 24;317(4):407-414. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.20325. PubMed

Babigumira JB, Li M, Boudreau DM, Best JH, Garrison LP Jr. Estimating the cost of illness of giant cell arteritis in the United States. Rheumatol Ther. 2017 Jan 13. doi: 10.1007/s40744-017-0052-8. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Veenstra DL, Guzauskas GF, Villa KF, Boudreau DM. The budget impact and cost-effectiveness of defibrotide for treatment of veno-occlusive disease with multi-organ dysfunction in patients post-hematopoietic stem cell transplant. J Med Econ. 2017 Jan 7:1-11. doi: 10.1080/13696998.2016.1275652. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Kurella Tamura M, Montez-Rath ME, Hall YN, Katz R, O'Hare AM. Advance directives and end-of-life care among nursing home residents receiving maintenance dialysis. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017 Jan 5. pii: CJN.07510716. doi: 10.2215/CJN.07510716. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Researchers in Health Services & Economics

Michael L. Parchman, MD, MPH

Director, MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation; Senior Investigator, GHRI
206-287-2704
parchman.m@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

David E. Arterburn, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-4610
arterburn.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

David C. Grossman, MD, MPH

Sr Investigator, GHRI; Group Health Executive Med Dir, Population & Purchaser Strategy, Health Plan
206-287-2948
grossman.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH

Vice President for Research, Group Health; Executive Director & Senior Investigator, GHRI
206-287-2988
larson.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Michael R. Von Korff, ScD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2874
vonkorff.m@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Edward H. Wagner, MD, MPH

Director (Emeritus), MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation; Senior Investigator, GHRI
206-287-2877
wagner.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paul A. Fishman, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2925
fishman.p@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Robert Penfold, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2232
penfold.r@ghc.org

James D. Ralston, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2076
ralston.j@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Katie Coleman, MSPH

Research Associate
206-287-2872
coleman.cf@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Denise M. Boudreau, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2067
boudreau.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2151
bradley.k@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana S. Buist, PhD, MPH

Director of Research and Strategic Partnership; Senior Investigator
206-287-2931
buist.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD

Senior Investigator (Emeritus)
206-287-2875
cherkin.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Associate Medical Director for Research and Translation
206-884-8241
lozano.p@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jessica Chubak, PhD, MBHL

Associate Investigator
206-287-2556
chubak.j@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen Wernli, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2934
wernli.k@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Evette J. Ludman, PhD

Senior Research Associate
206-287-2917
ludman.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Erin J. Bowles, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2708
bowles.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-4675
henrikson.n@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Aruna Kamineni, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2922
akaminen@fhcrc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Judith Schaefer, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2077
schaefer.jk@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gwen Lapham, PhD, MPH, MSW

Research Associate
206-287-2021
lapham.g@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Melissa L. Anderson, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2647
anderson.melissa@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Eric Johnson, MS

Biostatistician
206-287-2105
johnson.ex@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Lorella Palazzo, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2173
palazzo.l@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Caitlin Morrison, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2163
morrison.caitlin@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nicole Van Borkulo, M Ed

Research Associate
206-287-2900
vanborkulo.n@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula R. Blasi, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2094
blasi.p@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Leah Tuzzio, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2109
tuzzio.l@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Cara C. Lewis, PhD, HSPP

Associate Investigator
206-442-4076
lewis.cc@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Rebecca Y. Coley, PhD

Assistant Investigator
coley.r@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Joseph E. Glass, PhD

Assistant Scientific Investigator
206-287-4266
glass.j@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Kai Yeung, PharmD, PhD

Scientific Investigator
(206) 287-2063
yeung.k@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Affiliate researchers

Douglas A. Conrad, PhD, MBA, MHA
Health Services and Dental Public Health Sciences
Center for Health Management Research
Finance and Business Economics
University of Washington (UW)

David Grembowski, PhD
Health Services and Dental Public Health Sciences
Adjunct Professor, Sociology, UW

Larry Kessler, ScD
UW Department of Health Services

Leo Morales, MD, PhD
Chief Diversity Officer, Center for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
UW Medical School

Emily Williams, PhD, MPH
UW Department of Health Services; VA Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence