Consortium Research

2018 – Quick strike project 

The initial quick-strike project will marry measures of health care value with Altarum’s ongoing health sector tracking, to move beyond the “how much” question to the more important “how well” one. Specifically, we will develop and implement methods to track utilization of roughly five of the highest value interventions and five of the lowest value intervention that have been identified in VBID Health’s empirical work, and incorporate these result into our reporting of health spending, prices and labor. After piloting these metrics, our ambitious plan is to enhance this tracking by both implementing it on a national scale and updating it on, for example, a quarterly basis. Imagine being able to clearly assess the extent to which spending on high-value services is increasing (think a green line), and spending low-value services is falling (the red line), relative to a total spending index (the black line)! A preliminary list of high-value services is: 

  • Cancer screenings for people age 50-75, using appropriate inclusion and exclusion codes 

  • Vaccinations for all ages – from children’s vaccinations to influenza/pneumonia 

  • Prenatal care – thinking broadly of services that encompass prenatal care and maternal wellness 

  • Retinopathy screening for those with diabetes 

  • Healthy behavior counseling – tobacco cessation, weight counseling, drug counseling 

A preliminary list of low-value services is: 

  • Vitamin D screening tests 

  • PSA testing in men over age 75 

  • Unnecessary testing and lab work prior to low-risk surgery 

  • Imaging for uncomplicated low-back pain within six weeks of incident 

  • Use of expensive branded medications when generics with identical active ingredients are available