News & Events
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.
Reference Pricing Changes The ‘Choice Architecture’ Of Health Care For Consumers published in March Health Affairs issue
As part of a March Health Affairs issue examining health care delivery system innovations, James Robinson, Christopher Whaley, and Tim Brown analyzed the efficacy of reference pricing (full article) - a new component of health insurance design that motivates the patient to select low-price, high quality care settings for “shoppable” health care services. They looked at the impact on patient choice, prov ider prices, surgical complications, and employer spending and estimated that expanding reference pricing efforts to more services could reduce spending for the commercially insured population by as much as 8.6 percent.
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 has been 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 joinlty sponsored the 11th Annual Descartes-Berkeley-Strasbourg health care colloquium, held December, 2016, at the University of Paris, with the 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 engaged with biopharmaceutical market access, pricing, and use in France and the USA. Agenda
Symposium on Innovations in Diabetes Prevention and Management
BCHT held a symposium April 28-29, 2016 to explore Innovations in Diabetes Prevention and Management. The two day event included a keynote address by Stephen Shortell, a conversation with Lisa Suennen and Amy Belt Raimundo on methods for effective behavior change, and a panel on digital solutions for the underserved with Stephen Shortell, Julie Schmittdiel, and Neil Sehgal, and the Hack2Health Design Challenge finals judged by Dan Gillette, Research Specialist, CITRIS, and Rhonda Shrader, Director, Institute for Business Innovation at Haas School of Business. This symposium was made possible with generous support from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation. More
BCHT Director James Robinson won the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation award for the best article written from a commercial insurance point of view for his paper The Redesign of Consumer Cost Sharing for Specialty Drugs at the California Health Insurance Exchange, published in the American Journal of Managed Care, March 2016.
BCHT Co-Director featured as keynote speaker at Seminario: “Desafíos para la innovación en políticas públicas de salud”, Universidad de Chile
BCHT Co-Director Kim MacPherson was featured as keynote speaker at the international seminar: "Challenges for innovation in public health policies". The conference, sponsored by The Da Vinci Community, part of the Academy of innovation, Universidad de Chile, was held in the Faculty of Medicine Auditorium at the university. She also served as Academy of Innovation faculty for a 3 day course on innovation and gave lectures each day to an interdisciplinary group of graduate students on digital health and public-private partnerships to spur innovation.
10th Annual Descartes-Berkeley health care symposium held in Paris - BCHT Co-Directors are plenary speakers
2015 marked the 10th Annual Descartes-Berkeley health care symposium at the University of Paris. The colloquium is a collaboration of BCHT with the University of Paris-Descartes (Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy), bringing together senior governmental officials, regulators, industry executives, and university researchers engaged with biopharmaceutical market access, pricing, and use in France and the USA. Dr. Robinson and Ms. MacPherson were again among the event’s plenary speakers. Agenda
BCHT Co-Directors keynote at Roche Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland
Dr. Robinson and Ms. MacPherson keynoted two colloquia with Global Product Strategy (GPS) and Global Pricing and Market Access (GPMA) teams at Roche Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland. Their presentations focused on changes in the US market for drugs, driven by the Affordable Care Act, consolidation of private insurers, and the emergence of drug price competition due to formulary strategies by insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM).
They also presented on these topics at the Roche national headquarters in Paris, France.
BCHT has Prominent Role in 18th annual International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) Meeting
Dr. Robinson played a prominent role in the recent International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) 18th annual meeting held in November, 2015, in Milan, Italy. He co-taught a course on the economics of diagnostic testing, spoke at a major drugs in the US and Europe, and presented a poster with interim results from an econometric study of reference pricing for laboratory tests. panel on management of specialty
BCHT sponsored the “Innovations in Diabetes” Hack2Health Hackathon, held October 24, 2015 at UC Berkeley. The event challenged participants to design an innovative digital health solution promoting sustained patient engagement and behavioral change in the prevention or management of type 2 diabetes.
The hackathon is the first stage of a three-part Innovation in Diabetes Design Challenge, sponsored by the Haas Healthcare Association, a student-led organization at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Hackathon finalists, the D! team, designed a product called “D!” to enhance the dining out experiences of diabetes patients and to assist them in making dining choices in restaurants.
The D! team and other finalists also attended the Haas Healthcare Conference November 6 in San Francisco, where they were invited to present their pitches to a panel of judges representing tech firms, investors, and clinicians.
The Innovation in Diabetes Design Challenge is funded by the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation.
BCHT Co-Director facilitates panel "The impact of mass consolidation: what it means for disruptors" at the 2015 Rock Health Summit
BCHT Co-Director, Kimberly MacPherson, moderated the panel discussion on 2015 mega-mergers on the startup health market and what it means for future industry disruptors. In 2015, unprecedented billions of capital flowed into new players in healthcare at the startup level just as this consolidation wave was taking hold. The panel discussed where consolidation is driving opportunity: customer’s demand for choice, innovation and focus; and where health tech startups need to ensure coordination and cohesion with some of the market’s key players as they go from big to gigantic. Panelists included Collective Health Co-founder & CEO Ali Diab; Stride Health Co-founder & CEO, Noah Lang; and Janet Widman, Blue Shield of California’s former Executive VP.
BCHT JAMA Article on Reference Pricing and Colonscopies Picked up by Media
Association of Reference Payment for Colonoscopy With Consumer Choices, Insurer Spending, and Procedural Complications by James C. Robinson, Timothy T. Brown, Christopher Whaley, and Emily Finlayson appeared inJAMA Intern Med. The article was published online September 08, 2015, and picked up by several media outlets:
- Reference payment for colonoscopy saved California millions of dollars, Reuters
- This State Paid For Patients' Colonoscopies And Saved Millions, Huffington Post
- Reference Payment Reduces Spending on Colonoscopy, DoctorsLounge
- Reference Pricing Lowers Colon Ca Screening Cost, MedPage Today
- Colonoscopy Payment Model Encouraged Use of Low-Priced Facilities, Cancer Network
The paper also received the Director’s Award at the 2015 AHRQ Research Conference. The award committee specifically noted that this research was "deemed the most innovative and actionable" research presented at the conference.
Purchasing Medical Innovation
James Robinson Speaks at the Commonwealth Club of California
James Robinson was the featured speaker at Commonwealth Club of California, June 4, 2015. A PODCAST of the presentation is available on the Commonwealth website. He discussed his new book, Purchasing Medical Innovation: The Right Technology, for the Right Patient, at the Right Price, and answered audience questions in a Q&A session.
P4P Conference Plenary Session on Evolving Relationships Between Health Insurance Plans and Hospital Systems
James Robinson presented BCHT research on evolving relationships between health insurance plans and hospital systems at the P4P Conference Plenary Session. Health plans have responded to the high prices charged by major hospitals and academic medical centers by cutting them out of their contractual networks, but realize that consumers and patients want access to them. So both sides are experimenting with ways of making major medical centers central, rather than peripheral, to insurance networks, but at moderate rather than high prices. The session was a featured Health Business Daily story, PPO-ACOs in California Fight to Gain Market Share From HMOs, April 7, 2015.
Keynote Speeches at the University of Paris 9th Annual Colloquia on Biopharmaceutical Pricing and Digital Health
James Robinson and Kim MacPherson gave keynote speeches at the University of Paris colloquia on biopharmaceutical pricing and digital health, respectively. These colloquia are the ninth in an annual series of collaborative events in Paris between BCHT and the University of Paris-Descartes, Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine. Other speakers this year included Dr. Dominique Giorgi, Executive Director of the French Economic Committee on Medical Products (which negotiates drug and device products for the French national health insurance system with manufacturers); and Emma Garde, Solutions Director, Integrated Care Center of Excellence, SANOFI. Emma Garde, Kimberly MacPherson, François Lhoste, Francis Megerlin, and James C. Robinson participated in a round table discussion.
Colloquium Held at Roche in Basel, Switzerland
Robinson and MacPherson presented lectures on the US health insurance and pharmaceutical markets at Roche in Basel, Switzerland. This colloquium brought together the market access and pricing staffs for the global Roche/Genentech organization, based in Basel. This colloquium builds on a similar presentation in Basel by Dr. Robinson two years ago, plus the many collaborative educational activities between BCHT and Genentech in the United States.
BCHT London "Health Trek" Study Tour of the British National Health Service
James Robinson led a ‘health trek’ of MBA/MPH students on a week-long study tour of the British national health service and related policy institutions in London. Francis Wong MD, a British surgeon currently studying for an MBA/MPH at Berkeley, helped organize and facilitate the meetings. Robinson gave speeches at the Kings Fund and Roche UK. Additional meetings were held at the Nuffield Trust, NICE International, Monitor, Imperial College (mobile health incubator), Proteus (digital therapeutics firm), Digital Stitch (mobile health start-up), and Soma Analytics (digital health start-up). BCHT plans to build on this experience and organize more health treks for students to other sites, and is discussing funding options to help the students with travel expenses.
Costs Increase in Hospital-Owned Medical Groups
Article by James Robinson published in JAMA
The trend of hospitals consolidating medical groups and physician practices in an effort to improve the coordination of patient care is backfiring and increasing the cost of patient care, according to a new study led by a UC Berkeley health policy expert, BCHT Director James Robinson.
The new findings, published October 22, 2014, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, come as a growing number of local hospitals and large, multi-hospital systems in this country are acquiring physician groups and medical practices.
For more information, visit:
Hospital mergers and acquisitions increase patient costs – UC Berkeley Media Relations
NEW BOOK by JAMES ROBINSON
Purchasing Medical Innovation:
The Right Technology, for the Right Patient, at the Right Price
BCHT Director James Robinson’s new book, Purchasing Medical Innovation: The Right Technology, for the Right Patient, at the Right Price, is now available!
Innovation in medical technology supplies the health care industry with a remarkable pipeline of new drugs, devices, and diagnostics that improve health, reduce risk, and extend life. But these technologies are often priced at excessive levels and frequently used on the wrong patient, at the wrong time, or in the wrong setting. The only way to moderate cost growth without undermining innovation is to improve the process of assessing, pricing, prescribing, and using new technologies.
Purchasing Medical Innovation analyzes the contemporary revolution in the purchasing of health care technology, with a focus on the roles of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), insurers, physicians, hospitals, and consumers themselves. The FDA is now more thoroughly assessing product performance under real-world conditions as well as in laboratory settings. Insurers are designing payment methods that reward efficiency in the selection and administration of new treatments. Hospitals are aligning more closely with physicians. Patients are becoming more engaged and accountable.
In this book, Dr. Robinson describes both the strengths and deficiencies of the current system and highlights opportunities for buyers, sellers, and users to help improve the value of medical technology.
Several news organizations recently called on Center Chair James Robinson to discuss the implications of new health care cost-control plans being planned for the Affordable Care Act.
First up was Bloomberg Businessweek, which quoted Dr. Robinson on "reference pricing," a cost-control strategy that the California health and retirement benefits agency CalPERS pioneered. He studied the CalPERS experiment and found that many patients shifted to lower-cost hospitals, saving money, while expensive hospitals responded by cutting their prices. Although insurers don’t appear to be using reference pricing on the new health exchanges, Professor Robinson believes it’s only a matter of time before they do. The AP story also appeared in Yahoo Finance, Boston.com, and The Salt Lake Tribune.
Next was a visit to "30 Rock" [the fabled CNBC headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City], where Dr. Robinson provided on-air comments on the proposed caps on medical coverage for the Nightly Business Report program. You can watch the segment online at the NBR website.
Center Chair James Robinson has been awarded a new grant entitled “The Impact of Reference Pricing on Consumer Choice and Provider Pricing Strategies for Laboratory Test and Diagnostic Imaging” from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Care Financing & Organization. This study will examine reference pricing as implemented for lab tests and diagnostic imaging by Safeway, a national food retailer with locations in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Safeway has approximately 40,000 employees, retirees, and dependents in its self-insured health benefits plan. The Center’s Associate Director for Research, Tim Brown, is Co-Investigator on this project.
Tim Brown has also been awarded a very competitive new grant entitled,“The Impact of Reference Pricing on High Cost Medical Procedures” from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which extends the pilot work published in Health Affairs on the impact of reference pricing on knee and hip replacement surgery. This research will extend the examination of the reference pricing program implemented by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to colonoscopies, cataract surgery, and arthroscopic surgery. Center Chair James Robinson is Co-Investigator on this project.
HealthBiz Decoded's recent article—Reference Pricing: Another Tool That Saves Money, or a Limitation on Care?—included comments from Tim Brown, the Center's Associate Director for Research. Dr. Brown discussed the findings of the reference pricing study he recently completed and which formed the basis for Increases in Consumer Cost Sharing Redirect Patient Volumes and Reduce Hospital Prices for Orthopedic Surgery, co-authored by Brown and Center Chair James Robinson.
The Wall Street Journal published James Robinson's Op-Ed piece, Comparison Shopping for Knee Surgery, on October 27, 2013.
Center Chair James Robinson's Op-Ed piece, When Patients Become Consumers, Health Care Costs Can Be Tamed, was published in the Sacrament Bee "Viewpoints" section on Friday, August 16, 2013.
BCHT Chairs Lead Executive Educational Workshop for AbbVie
Center Co-Chairs James Robinson and Kim MacPherson conducted a three-day executive training session at AbbVie, Inc., the biopharmaceutical company recently spun off from Abbott Laboratories. Topics covered included topics including current maacro trends and the Affordable Care Act, diving forces in the provider space, and paying for value.
News Bureaus Call on James Robinson
The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times each recently ran stories on the efforts by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to reduce its health care costs through reference pricing. BCHT Chair James Robinson was quoted in both stories discussing research done by BCHT on the CalPERS data.
BCHT Chairs Speak to U.K. Health Agencies
James Robinson and Kim MacPherson visited colleagues in London at the King's Fund, Nuffield Trust, Monitor, and Imperial College. The visit was primarily focused on U.K. reform efforts and getting updated on the proposed NHS "Value-Based Pricing" scheme for pharmaceuticals. As part of that visit, Dr. Robinson gave a keynote address at a conference hosted by the King's Fund onPayment Reform: Moving beyond Payment by Results Payment by Results, the current mode by which hospitals are reimbursed in the U.K. The conference brought over 100 industry, government, and academic professionals together to hear about new payment models designed to better support patient care and integrated delivery. We find the King's Fund to be superior conveners whose efforts are targeted right on the most critical health policy issues facing the U.K. Dr. Robinson's slides are available, as are video highlights of both his talk and one by King's Fund Chief Executive, Chris Ham.
New BCHT Issue Brief: Promoting Value in Health Care: The Evolving Role of Shared Decision Making. Written by Jennifer Schindel, BCHT's Senior Research Associate, this new Issue Brief looks at the "state of the state" in shared decision making by reviewing the trajectory of shared decision making (SDM) research to date, identifying key factors to consider as SDM efforts expand, and highlighting two innovative research/implementation initiatives committed to exploring SDM's potential for impacting broader health care quality and value.
BCHT first Webinar—held on November 28th—featured the BCHT Directors and Drs. Linda Bosserman and Jennifer Malin discussing an innovative pilot between Wellpoint and Wilshire Oncology on an oncology medical home. You may download PDFs of the speakers' presentations, as well as a recording of the entire webinar from our Resources page.
Timothy Brown presented a talk entitled How Long Does It Take Public Health Spending to Affect Mortality Rates?at the 2012 Public Health Services & Systems Research (PHSSR) Keeneland Conference in Lexington, Kentucky.
Dr. Marcus A. Conant, a physician who was among the first to identify and treat AIDS, and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and former UN Commissioner on Human Rights, each received a 16th annual Public Health Heroes Award from UC Berkeley's School of Public Health on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. For the first time at the Public Health Heroes event, guests had the opportunity to interact with faculty, students, and researchers from five participating centers, including BCHT.
BCHT Staff at the 2012 Public Health Heroes Reception: [L-R] Jenn Schindel, Kim MacPherson, James Robinson, Peg Farrell, Tim Brown.
Extending Care Coordination to the Commercially Insured PPO Population, by James Robinson, was the cover story for the Fall 2011 issue of CAPG Health, the official magazine fo the California Association of Physician Groups.
BCHT Graduate Student Researchers Dierdre Parsons and Erika Heaton [L-R], together with James Robinson, discussed The Future of Big Pharma in the Fall 2011 issue of Berkeley Health, the news publication of UC Berkeley's School of Public Health.
Variation in Hospital Costs, Payments, and Profitabilty for Cardiac Valve Replacement Surgery, by James Robinson, has been published by Health Services Research in the July 2011 issue.
Health Affairs published BCHT Director James Robinson's paper, Hospitals Respond to Medicare Payment Shortfalls by Both Shifting Costs and Cutting Them, Based on Market Concentration in the July 2011 issue.
BCHT published an issue brief on Pacemaker and Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) Implant Procedures in California Hospitals.
BCHT Director James Robinson and Associate Director Kimberly MacPherson met with the Health Minister of Singapore. Watch for a future Issue Brief on the Singaporean health care system.
The journal Health Affairs featured BCHT Director James Robinson's paper,Application of Value-Based Insurance Design Principles to High-Cost Health Services in the November 2010 issue. Dr. Robinson joined Health Affairs for a press conference in Washington, DC, to promote his paper.
BCHT hosted a roundtable on "Coordinating Strategies for Improving Efficiency in Orthopedic Surgery" on November 5, 2010 at the California HealthCare Foundation
Health Affairs published BCHT Director James Robinson's paper, Comparative Effectiveness Research: From Clinical Information to Economic Incentives in the October 2010 issue.
BCHT published an issue brief on Costs and Reimbursement for Cardiac Valve Replacement Surgery in California Hospitals, 2008.
BCHT hosted a workshop on cost sharing for UC Berkeley MPH students on October 15th.
BCHT hosted a medical device reception: "Hospitals, Physicians & MedTech: Can't We All Just Get Along?" in San Francisco on October 14th.
BCHT participated in the Health Innovation Week in San Francisco, October 3-10.
BCHT Director James Robinson and Associate Director Kimberly MacPherson participated in the Academy for International Health Studies mission to Vancouver, Canada.
BCHT published an issue brief on Value-Based Purchasing on Medical Devices: Volumes, Costs, and Reimbursement for Cervical Fusion Surgery in California Hospitals, 2008.
BCHT Director James Robinson presented at the Academy Health Annual Research Meeting in Seattle on "Hospital Concentration, Pricing, and Profitability in Orthopedics and Cardiology," on June 29th.
BCHT Director James Robinson and Associate Director Kim MacPherson presented at the Fifth Descartes Seminar of Economic Themes of Health in Paris, France. You can view their presentations here. [Program /Presentation]
BCHT published an issue brief on Implantable Medical Devices for Hip Replacement Surgery: Economic Implications for California Hospitals.
BCHT published an issue brief on Device Costs, Total Costs, and Other Characteristics of Knee Replacement Surgery in California Hospitals, 2008.
James Robinson gave a keynote presentation at the Fifth National Pay for Performance Summit, sponsored by the Integrated Healthcare Association, A Framework for Payment Reform.
BCHT co-sponsored the third "Best Practice Roundtable" with the Integrated Healthcare Association. The topic was "Medical Device Costs and Reimbursements in California: Data, Implications, and Future Directions."
BCHT published a second issue brief, Physician-Hospital Alignment in the Evaluation, Purchasing, and Use of Implantable Medical Devices.
BCHT published its first Report and Issue Brief on confidentiality and transparency in medical device prices.
BCHT Director James Robinson made a plenary presentation on "The Employer's Role in Value-Based Health Care" at the National Business Coalition on Health's Annual Conference, held in Phoenix, Arizona, November 8-10.
BCHT co-sponsored the second "Best Practice Roundtable" with the Integrated Healthcare Association. The topic was "Physician Hospital Alignment in Device Selection: Challenges and Opportunities."
Genentech gave a second generous gift to BCHT.
BCHT hosted a Biosimilar Workshop for students and professionals on April 24th.
The Berkeley Center for Health Technology held its launch party on April 21st