Course Description

This course serves as an overview of fundamental concepts and empirical methods in the analysis of health policies and programs. It offers a pragmatic, applied approach to the subject, focusing on how the learner can use evaluation methods in practice. This course surveys key concepts in evaluation, such as confounding, selection bias, non-random assignment, the counterfactual, and matching. It examines the notions of internal versus external validity, and their influence on methodological choice. And it covers empirical methods including randomized controlled trials, regression discontinuity design, difference-in-differences or interrupted time series methods, matching, and instrumental variables. Real-world policies and evaluation examples illustrate concepts and applications of methods.

A sample video from the course Evaluating Health Policy and Programs, taught by Amol Navathe, MD, PhD.
LECTURE VIDEO SAMPLE: A lecture excerpt about randomized controlled trials, from Evaluating Health Policy and Programs

Course Dates: February 6–April 2, 2018

Estimated Hours/Week: 8

Learning Objectives

Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to do the following:

  1. Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of common methodologies and approaches to study the impact of policy and programmatic change.
  2. Identify appropriate methodologies for a given evaluation context, and critique their application.
  3. Apply course concepts to managing, and making recommendations about, the evaluation of real-world health policies and programs.

Targeted Audience

Researchers, administrators, and IT professionals who are interested in structuring practical research that measures the impact of proposed programs and policy changes. This course is suited to quantitative thinkers who are interested in leading evaluation studies.

Meet the Faculty

Amol S. Navathe, MD, PhD

Amol Navathe, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and MedicineUniversity of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Navathe served as Managing Director, Healthcare for the firm Navigant, where he led the Academic Medical Center, Value Transformation, and Analytic Services practices. Dr. Navathe is a practicing physician, health economist, and engineer with expertise in delivery transformation and policy design. His thought leadership led to founding the new disciplinary academic journal Health Care: the Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation and serving as its Co-Editor-in-Chief, as well as serving as Founding Director of the Foundation for Healthcare Innovation. His work on improving health care costs and quality has been published in numerous leading journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Health Affairs, Annals of Internal Medicine, Health Services Research, American Journal of Managed Care, and other leading academic journals. Dr. Navathe completed his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; post-graduate medical training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School; and obtained his Ph.D. in Health Care Management and Economics at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

His work has focused on two core areas: (1) provider economic behavior, including incentive design and behavioral economics, and (2) applications of informatics to address health services research questions. These streams include a mix of pragmatic clinical trials and observational data analyses. Current areas of focus include bundled payments, applications of behavioral economics to physicians and non-physician clinicians, and peer comparisons. His work in advanced health data analytics and technology to improve health care delivery has been implemented at numerous large health systems. He has also applied his skills to federal policy for health care evidence development and data infrastructure. Dr. Navathe’s technical expertise focuses on the use of claims and clinical data to measure the costs, quality and appropriateness of care, making inferences on clinical care delivery highly relevant to analysis of health system performance and policy design. He also has deep experience with large-scale government-led projects, having served as Medical Officer and Senior Program Manager for the $1B federal Comparative Effectiveness Research program, and with informatics and information technology to support health care delivery. 

Dr. Navathe is inspired to transform health care delivery for his patients. As a practicing physician, he sees the complexity and hardships of health care financing and delivery in a very personal way.  He is inspired by his patients on a day-to-day basis and hopes that his work will improve their lives and those of Americans nationwide.

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