Emory and Aetna announced last month that the U.S. Quality Algorithms
(USQA) Center for Health Care Research, an Aetna affiliate, has become
the cornerstone of the newly formed Emory Center on Health Outcomes and
Quality (ECHOQ). This agreement immediately establishes one of the largest
groups in the nation in health research directed at assessing quality
of health care to improve medical outcomes.
Aetna is delighted that Emory, one of the nations preeminent
academic research centers, shares our belief in the center and its research
mission, and sees the value of creating this unique public-private partnership,
said Aetna CEO John Rowe. We believe that a strategic relationship
with Emory will enable us to explore new ways to collaborate on joint
research initiatives directed toward the quality and cost-effectiveness
of patient care.
Kenneth Thorpe has been named ECHOQ director. Currently he is chair of
the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Rollins School of
Public Health, where the center is housed.
Being able to incorporate this strong, experienced Aetna research
team into the new [ECHOQ] provides a jump start to achieving our objectives
of linking clinicians with health services researchers to look at issues
of cost and quality, Thorpe said. This provides an unusual
opportunity for Emoryintegrating academically trained research-ers
who had been working hands, on in the private sector [and] looking at
issues of quality and outcomes. We are pleased and excited that they will
be able to bring that experience to bear in this new research center.
This arrangement moves the USQA Center for Health Care Research, and a
highly experienced group of 14 researchers and staff, from the private
sector of Aetna into the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC), one of
the nations fastest-growing academic health sciences centers.
It is expected that ECHOQ will maintain an ongoing relationship with Aetna
for collaborative research initiatives that may include access to the
extensive data resources of USQA, the performance and outcomes measurement
subsidiary of Aetna. Aetna will continue to support and collaborate on
relevant research undertaken at the Emory center for a minimum of two
ECHOQ is a multischool, multidisciplinary center that was created to conduct
outcomes-based research, which includes assessing and improving methods
for measuring quality of care and designing interventions to improve health
outcomes. In addition to research, the center will focus on education
by offering a long-distance Master of Public Health degree in outcomes
research. It also will focus on service and applications, working with
consumers, physicians and insurers to evaluate and implement new approaches
for improving quality of care.
In a time when there are documented issues concerning health care
costs and quality, the Emory Center on Health Outcomes and Quality can
make a major contribution toward solving some of these pressing issues,
said Michael Johns, executive vice president for Health Affairs. We
are particularly pleased that we have been able to work closely with Aetna
to accomplish the goal of adding the talents of the USQA Center for Health
Care Research to our multifaceted organization.
Based in Atlanta, the USQA Center for Health Care Research has produced
research-based knowledge and methods to help health plans, physicians
and hospitals enhance the quality and cost-effectiveness of patient care.
Last year, the USQA center was one of nine research consortia awarded
a contract by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to establish
the Integrated Delivery System Research Network. This new model of field-based
research links top researchers in the nation with some of the countrys
largest health care systems.
In recognition of Aetnas contribution to the creation of the Emory
center, WHSC will establish a lecture series that will focus on health
outcomes and quality research..