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Research News

Health Care

Venture Capital Should Invest in Improving the Health Care Safety Net

Young companies trying to enter parts of the health care industry by focusing on helping patients stay healthy and allowing safety net providers to use their resources have a hard time attracting venture capital funds that focus more on traditional profit. A recent article by two Stanford Graduate School of Business researchers argues that it's time to change this pattern.

Evaluating Options for Reform of the Medical Malpractice System

There are many potential ways to reform the United States' health care malpractice system that currently adds nearly 4% to costs. Stanford Graduate School of Business political economist Daniel Kessler has surveyed the alternatives created by laws in different states and finds that "wisely chosen reforms have the potential to reduce health care spending significantly with no adverse impact on patient health outcomes."

Innovating for the Health Care Safety Net: Sources of Funding

Medical Technologies with high "social value" can play an important role in helping safety-net providers use their resources more efficiently. However, traditional investors often see the total market potential for such technologies small relative to other, more immediate opportunities, leaving many companies struggling to secure capital, say researchers Stefanos Zenios and Lyn Denend.

Web 2.0 Technology and the Developing World

A low-cost incubator designed to save premature babies in impoverished areas got a boost from the 21st century world of viral communications recently when a group of students went to work with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and raised $4,000 to support the firm building the incubator. Both the incubator — called Embrace — and the idea for viral marketing came out of separate classes at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Can Oil Filters Improve Health Care?

For millions of people across Africa, motorcycles can be a key to effective health care. A well-maintained fleet of vehicles and motorcycles to connect patients, medical expertise, and medicine is sometimes the most vital link in the health delivery supply chain. A new case written for the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum describes one successful program.

Don’t Tax Efficiency in Health Care

Practically all taxes distort economic incentives to some extent, opines healthcare expert Alain Enthoven. But taxes on healthcare currently under consideration by the Senate Finance Committee are particularly perverse.  Instead of promoting prepayment and integrated care with the right incentives—the best long term strategy for keeping coverage affordable—this policy moves us in the wrong direction.

How Much Will We Pay for a Year of Life?

Today $50,000 is the internationally accepted value placed on an additional year of high quality human life. That figure is too low according to new research that also warns using cost effectiveness to decide whether to authorize and pay for specific treatments raises major ethical dilemmas.

The Price of a Medication May Affect How Well it Work
A marketing pitch or the price of a drug may do more than simply affect what the consumer thinks about the product. It also can have an actual effect on how effective the user finds the drug, says researcher Baba Shiv.

Who Is Paying for Uninsured Medical Patients?

Underfunding programs like Medicare – not the cost of paying for uninsured medical patients – is driving up private health care costs, argues economist Daniel Kessler. (June 2007)

Social Networks Impact the Drugs Physicians Prescribe
Marketing drugs to medical opinion leaders such as specialists can boost revenues by 18 percent over the return on marketing to a broad group of physicians, according to recent research coauthored by Assistant Professor Harikesh Nair. (March 2007)

Dutch Adopt Enthoven’s Plan of Managed Competition in Health Care
The Netherlands has become the first nation to inaugurate a system of universal health insurance based extensively on a plan first proposed in 1978 by Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Alain Enthoven, who coined the term “managed competition.” (November 2006)

Marketing Directly to Physicians Reaps Higher Returns for Drug Companies
In the case of antihistamines, drug companies could increase revenues by advertising more heavily soon after the launch of a new product, said Sridhar Narayanan, assistant professor of marketing at the Graduate School of Business, who has completed a trio of research projects on the purpose and effectiveness of pharmaceutical advertising campaigns. (August 2006)

Beyond Employment-based Health Insurance: Medicare-like Single-payer System Could Spell Disaster
Rising insurance costs have led employers to hold back wage increases, raise co-pays and deductibles, and ask employees to shoulder a higher share of premiums. Professor Alain Enthoven argues the case for alternatives to the current U.S. network of employer-funded health insurance programs. (February 2006)

Lower Medical Costs by Using Integrated Systems
Improved systems to share medical histories, create interdisciplinary medical teams, and update doctors on the latest medical research findings could trim healthcare costs while improving patient care, argues Prof. Alain Enthoven. (September 2005)

Malpractice Reforms Increase the Supply of Physicians
States that adopted malpractice law reforms, such as caps on noneconomic damages, saw their supply of physicians increase, say researchers. (September 2005)

Detecting Medicare Abuse
Through improved targeting of fraud-and-abuse law enforcement, Medicare could reduce hospital expenditures without harming patients’ health outcomes, according to research by Prof. Daniel Kessler and others. (August 2005)

Getting More Bang for the Buck Out of Health Insurance
Most health plans in the United States base coverage decisions on clinical studies of how well the procedure, device, or medication works, without considering costs. Professor Alan M. Garber argues that more attention to cost-effectiveness would reduce health care costs and insurance premiums without lowering the quality of care. (August 2005)

Positive News from Stanford's Managed Competition Health Plan
Stanford University employees select their health care coverage from a menu of services using the university's managed competition plan. The result, say observers, has been savings to the university and positive reactions from employees. (February 2005)

Why Your Appendectomy Costs More than Mine
The ability to move your members to another hospital may be the key bargaining chip as insurance companies negotiate rates with hospitals, says researcher Alan Sorensen. (June 2004)

U.S. Not Prepared for A Terrorist Anthrax Attack
Despite the fatal anthrax attack in the U.S. mail in 2001, no government response plan exists in the event of another attack. Research by Business School Professor Larry Wein and two colleagues recommends the rapid deployment of antibiotics and a series of other precautionary steps to reduce the death toll in the event of an attack. (March 2003)

Rapid Immunizations Recommended in Event of Bioterrorist Attack
Federal health officials made a major change in September in their guidelines for nationwide immunization against a smallpox attack after researchers argued for mass immunizations rather than a slower process based on who had been exposed to disease. (September 2002)

A Tad of Profit-Making Can Benefit Social Goals
Even a handful of for-profit hospitals operating in a community can lower health care expenditures without harming the quality of patients' health care. Communities with a for-profit hospital have approximately 2.4 percent lower levels of hospital expenditures per patient, but virtually the same patient health outcomes, the researchers say. (May 2002)

Health Policy Expert Offers New Health Insurance Proposal
Three Stanford health policy experts have proposed a new solution to a very complicated problem: how to make affordable health care available to as many Americans as possible. Alain Enthoven, the Marriner S. Eccles Professor of Public and Private Management, Emeritus, has worked out a system intended to foster competition and price-cutting among health plans. (July 2001)

New Model Could Increase Transplants
Researchers including the Business School's Stefanos Zenios have devised a new model that could mean 10 percent more patients awaiting kidney transplants could receive the critical surgery each year. (May 2001)

Is Hospital Competition Socially Wasteful?
Competition among health care providers leads to substantially lower costs and significantly lower rates of mortality and cardiac complications say Stanford researchers. (August 2000)

Managed Care: What Went Wrong? Can It Be Fixed?
Prof. Alain Enthoven gave The Donald C. Ozmun and Donald B. Ozmun and Family Lecture in Management at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. (November 1999)

Pooled Blood Donors Saves Time and Money
Researchers have proposed a system for increasing the amount of donated blood tested against the AIDS virus without an astronomical increase in cost. (September 1997)

Fair Play for Transplants
A new way of allocating organs available for donor surgery could mean curb the long wait for lifesaving transplants. (March 1997)

Is Medical Malpractice Reform Good Medicine?
In states where laws put a cap on damages for malpractice, health care costs drop but the health of patients remains the same say researchers. (February 1996)