June 11, 2014
Northeastern has received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a comprehensive user’s guide for population-based health metrics, which can be applied to national payment reform and preventative care efforts. Photo via Thinkstock.
“What leads to healthier people?” asks John Auerbach, Distinguished Professor of Practice and director of the Institute of Urban Health Research and Practice in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. “It’s not just the care they get from doctor,” he says, “but their lifestyle choices and the environment where they live and work.”
These factors, Auerbach explains, are used to build population-based health metrics. And these metrics, he says, are essential tools that can be used to treat patients, establish preventive care measures, and save big healthcare dollars.
“When you create population-based metrics, you’re not just looking at how you treat a patient who’s suffered a heart attack,” Auerbach says. “You’re also monitoring the myriad environmental aspects that impact the patient’s health.”
Auerbach is the principal investigator on a grant Northeastern recently received from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted solely the public health. The grant—which dovetails with Northeastern’s commitment to pursuing use-inspired research in health, one of the university’s core research themes—will be used to identify a universal set of population-based health metrics and then integrate them into a toolkit. The toolkit will be used by healthcare organizations to implement payment reform and other measures aimed at improving patient care and lowering costs.