BCHT Newsletter

Spring/Summer 2017

HRR MapInteractive Map: Potential Savings from Reference Pricing for Colonoscopy Procedures by HRR (click here or on image above) 

Hover over a Hospital Referral Region (HRR) on the map to see the projected savings along with the key predictive market parameters used.  HRR Map Data Table.

For project details, visit Current Projects: Reference Pricing.


BCHT article published in New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Reference Pricing with Drug Selection and Spending; featured in other media

Association of Reference Pricing with Drug Selection and Spending by BCHT researchers James Robinson, Christopher Whaley, and Timothy Brown has been published in the August 17, 2017 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The article discusses the effects of implementing reference pricing, a new insurance design, on drug selection and spending for patients covered by employment-based insurance in the United States. The study found that implementation was associated with significant changes in patient drug selection and spending. 



BCHT STORIES: Inaugural site highlights University Research, Innovation in Diabetes Care, and Insurance Benefit Design, on storytelling platform

UC Berkeley Center for Health Technology (BCHT) announces the launch of BCHT Stories (bcht-stories.berkeley.edu), a website on a new interactive Livestories storytelling platform, with easily accessible information about health policy and research.

The inaugural site highlights the year-long Innovations in Prevention and Management of Diabetes project and BCHT’s current work on Reference Pricing, a new insurance benefit design. New topics will be added over time. Topics are illustrated with trusted data sources, publications, conference video footage, and interactive graphics, and emphasize evidence based research. 

Stay tuned! The next additions to BCHT Stories (bcht-stories.berkeley.edu) will be Drug Pricing 101, and a future story-sharing function that will allow readers to contribute their personal "stories" relating to the highlighted topics.


BCHT Co-Director invited to speak for 2nd year at international seminar held at the Universidad de Chile

BCHT Co-Director Kim MacPherson was featured as keynote speaker at the international seminar: "Challenges for innovation in public health policies" in 2016, and was invited back again in 2017. The conference, sponsored by The Da Vinci Community, part of the Academy of Innovation, Universidad de Chile, is held in the Faculty of Medicine Auditorium at the university.


11th Annual Descartes-Berkeley-Strasbourg health care colloquium held in Paris 

BCHT jointly sponsored the 11th Annual Descartes-Berkeley-Strasbourg health care colloquium, held December, 2016, at the University of Paris, with cosponsors University of Paris Descartes (Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy) and the University of Strasbourg.  The colloquium is a collaboration bringing together senior governmental officials, regulators, industry executives, and university researchers, who are engaged with biopharmaceutical market access, pricing, and use in France and the USA.   Agenda



BCHT Researchers’ New Reference Pricing Findings Synthesized in Issue Brief

Articles published in JAMA, WKH, NYT; highlighted in Laboratory Economics, Dark Report

After being widely published, BCHT Director James Robinson, Associate Director for Research Timothy Brown, and Staff Economist Christopher Whaley’s findings on the results of the 2010-2013 Safeway/CalPERS reference pricing pilot have been synthesized in five new Issue Briefs: Overview of Reference Pricing, Reference Pricing for CT Scans, MRI ScansLab Diagnostics, and Pharmaceuticals.



Wolters Kluwer Health

New York Times

 Laboratory Economics

Dark Report


Economic and Clinical Value in Oncology

The journal Elsevier published Value-based payment for oncology services in the United States and France by authors James Robinson and Francis Megerlin. This paper discusses the pursuit of economic and clinical value in oncology that goes “beyond the pill” to encompass improvements in the process of caring for patients suffering from cancer, and contemporary efforts to create stronger payment incentives for appropriate drug selection, administration, monitoring, and management in the United States and France.


BCHT cotinues to publish timely articles on the topics of Medical Innovation, Reference Pricing and Consumer Choices, Physician and Hospital Payment Methods, Value Based Health Care and Pay-for-Performance, and Coordinated Care for Chronic Illness.

Visit  our Publications page for links to the full text of these papers



New and returning GSRs

Graduate Student Researcher Charoan Guo has continued working on the Impact of Reference Pricing on Surgical Complications and Costs study with Associate Director for Research Timothy Brown. GSR Nan Chen joined them this spring. This project evaluates the impact of the CalPERS reference pricing initiative on surgical complications, consumer cost sharing and insurer payment using 2009-14 data from the nation’s largest private health insurer, Anthem Inc. Funders include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), Genentech Foundation, and CalPERS.

Erica Madero, Christina Murphy and Elizabeth Rajasingh joined BCHT in the fall, working with Director James Robinson and Co-Director Kim MacPherson on various Center projects including the new Reference Pricing Issue Briefs and the new BCHT Stories website due to be launched August 17, 2017..


GSR Graduates

Marina Fisher has relocated to Boston and is a consultant with Bridge Span Group, a global non-profit that addresses issues relating to global poverty and improving quality of life by concentrating on the areas of education; children, youth, and families; public health; and global development.

Jennifer Sisto is a neighbor in the East Bay and is working with Relay Health, a company providing clinical connectivity to physicians, patients, hospitals and more using innovative health information technology.

Chris Whaley is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Health Policy Management department, and a researcher at RAND Corporation. RAND addresses issues that impact people around the world including security, health, education, sustainability, growth, and development.

Marion Aoaud completed her PhD this spring and is off to Copenhagen, Denmark, for an Assistant Professor of Economics position with Copenhagen Business School - Economics group.

Erica Madero completed her degree this spring, and is staying on as a neighbor in the Bay Area working with Omada Health in San Francisco.