The volume and complexity of health research can make it difficult for legislators to keep up.
Larry Stern, a retired health care executive, says with the growing number of interest and advocacy groups, it’s difficult to determine positions of those groups based on evidence from those based on belief.
The University of Pittsburgh announced Thursday the start of the Stern Center for Evidence-Based Policy, funded in part by a $3 million grant from the Lawrence and Rebecca Stern Family Foundation, Inc.
Located at Pitt’s Health Policy Institute, which conducts research intended to inform health policymakers, the center will independently curate similar studies to better inform or enlighten points being debated by legislators.
Stern emphasized the importance of objective analysis. Much of the center’s work will focus on the nation's aging population, he said.
“If we don’t move and bend the curve on how we manage health care for the elderly, it will start to -- and probably already is -- going to take resources away from everything else we do in society, from education to other social programs,” he said.
With the announcement, researchers released their first report, “Addressing the Health Needs of an Aging America,” that looks at health policy gaps for aging Americans.
The Pew Research Center projects that by 2022, 30 percent of 65 to 74 year olds will still be working.
“We actually did a scan of data with hundreds of thousands of abstracts from around the world, most of them from the United States, and then we culled that down into a smaller subset and we mapped that to policy proposals,” Stern said.
The study points to patient self-management and palliative care – improving quality of life for patient and family – as areas with significant research but little policy. In the future, the center will focus on long-term care financing and the health care workforce.