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The Building Bridges Conference Series

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HMO Researchers and Operations Staff

As managed care has grown to become the dominant form of health care delivery in this country, the number and range of people with an interest in determining how managed care works, and for whom, has grown as well. In addition to the broader policy and consumer communities, two particular groups with long-standing but disparate interest in such questions are (1) researchers who study managed care from the outside and (2) research and operations people within managed care organizations.

Seven years ago, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) brought these two communities together at their inaugural "Building Bridges" conference, "Building Bridges Between the HMO and Health Services Research Communities." The goals of the conference were modest:

  • Bring together external HMO researchers and internal HMO researchers and operations staff.
  • Initiate a dialogue between the HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and health services research communities.

Over the years, additional organizations have joined the partnership:

Conference goals have expanded to include the following:

  • Facilitating better working relations, communications, and understanding.
  • Identifying areas of managed care research that are important for plans, purchasers, and policymakers, and building a research agenda to address them.
  • Promoting collaboration.
  • Providing opportunities to share experiences and research findings, and potentially provide answers to some critical questions related to quality, access, and costs of managed care.

Building Bridges VII (2001)

Assessing Policy Decisions and their Impact on Health Care Delivery

On April 25-27, 2001, "Building Bridges VII: Assessing Policy Decisions and Their Impact on Health Care Delivery" was held in Seattle, WA.

The conference included three plenary sessions (with AHRQ participation as noted):

  1. "Clinical Decision Making in the absence of Evidence."
  2. "The Impact of Policies on Access to Care" (Irene Fraser, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Organization and Delivery Studies, AHRQ).
  3. "Driving Technology Assessment" (Deborah Zarin, M.D., Director of the Technology Assessment Program, AHRQ).

Concurrent sessions, based primarily on a "call for abstracts", included:

  • Improving Health Care Delivery with Performance Measurement.
  • Assessing the Impact of State/Federal Mandates on Heath Care Delivery.
  • Special Topics Research.
  • Expanding the Reach of Primary Care.
  • Advancing STD Screening and Treatment Guidelines.
  • Creating Opportunities with Consumer & Community-Based Research.

Interactive Workshops included (with AHRQ participation as noted):

  • Building Research Capacity and Developing Research Collaborations.
  • Using External Data Sets to Complement Internal Health Plan Data—HCUP and CAHPS® (Herb Wong, Ph.D., Sr. Economist, and Roxanne Andrews, Ph.D., Sr. Service Fellow, Center for Organization and Delivery Studies, AHRQ).
  • Disability and Managed Care.

Building Bridges VI (2000)

The Road to Quality Care: Using Research to Drive Quality Improvement

On April 6-7, 2000, "Building Bridges VI: The Road to Quality Care: Using Research to Drive Quality Improvement" was held in Atlanta, GA.

The conference agenda included three plenary sessions:

  1. "Reducing Medical Errors and Improving Medical Safety."
  2. "Clinical Research and Its Contribution to Quality Care."
  3. "Organizing for Quality."

Concurrent sessions, based primarily on a "call for abstracts," included:

  • Using cost-effectiveness data to improve quality of care.
  • The relationship between measurement and improvement.
  • Accountability for mental health care delivery.
  • Addressing issues of racial and ethnic disparity.
  • Establishing prevention priorities.
  • Eliminating missed opportunities for prevention.
  • Using health services research to improve quality of care.
  • Setting evidence-based prevention policy.

Based on presentations made at both the 1999 and 2000 Building Bridges conferences, a special supplemental issue of Medical Care Research and Review will be published in December 2000. Articles will include:

  • "Quality Improvement: New Contributions from the Field of Health Services Research" by Peggy McNamara, Blake Caldwell, Irene Fraser, Jan De La Mare, and Jill Arent.
  • "Are Managed Care Plans Organizing for Quality?" by Dennis P. Scanlon, Elizabeth Rolph, Charles Darby, and Hilary E. Doty.
  • "Employers: Quality Takers or Quality Makers?" by Irene Fraser and Peggy McNamara.
  • "Translating Behavioral Health Services Research into Benefits Policy" by Kyle L. Grazier and Harold Pollack.
  • "Are Women being Counseled about Estrogen Replacement Therapy?" by Teresa C. Gallagher, Olga Geling, Jennifer FitzGibbons, John Aforismo, and Florence Comite.
  • "Wrestling with Typology: Penetrating the 'Black Box' of Managed Care by Focusing on Health Care System Characteristics" by Cindy Brach, Linda Sanches, Don Young, James Rodgers, Holly Harvey, Thomas McLemore, and Irene Fraser.
  • "Assessing the Relationship between Quality of Care and the Characteristics of Health Care Organizations" by R. Adams Dudley, Bruce E. Landon, Haya R. Rubin, Nancy L. Keating, Carol A. Medlin, and Harold S. Luft.
  • "Quality Measures for Mental Health Care: Results from a National Inventory" by Richard C. Hermann, H. Stephen Leff, R. Heather Palmer, Chet Jakubiak, Dawei Yang, Terri Teller, Scott Provost, and Jeff Chan.

Current as of May 2001

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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