COLLABORATION

Universities & insurers team up to tackle ballooning healthcare costs

SOURCE: Adul10/Shutterstock
Health insurers in Texas have signed on to collaborate with 11 university research institutions to assess gaps in the state’s healthcare system.

Health insurers Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) have signed on to collaborate with 11 university research institutions to assess gaps and fragmentation in the state’s healthcare system that leads to higher costs.

The only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas enlisted the universities to work on a range of projects that support their objective and address different issues within the system. These include vaccination rates and behavioural health, as well as indicators of fragmentation.

“Failure to address access and affordability of healthcare has real consequences. We need to challenge the status quo by bringing transformative research and ideas to the table,” President of BCBSTX, Dr. Dan McCoy, said in a press release.  

“By collaborating with a diverse set of institutions and researchers who are embedded in and understand the communities we’re serving, we can better identify and develop solutions that tackle high healthcare costs at its foundation.”

The University of Texas at Austin will be carrying out research improving adult vaccination delivery through the optimisation of clinical health information technology. Source: Shutterstock

The University of Texas at Austin will be carrying out research improving adult vaccination delivery through the optimisation of clinical health information technology. McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston will be looking at the impact of de-prescribing unnecessary or costly medications in older adults. Both projects are part of BCBSTX’s Affordability Cures initiative, which focuses on drug cost and adherence.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler will focus on the impact of mental health on healthcare costs. The main focus of their study will be examining social and economic consequences of untreated mental illnesses of underserved populations in rural area.

There is also the financial side of healthcare which Tarleton State University will be looking at in their examination of fraud detection in health claims data.

In addition to partnerships with Texas universities, BCBSTX will also collaborate with the RAND Corporation on a study to examine the impacts of provider consolidation and the cost of specialty pharmaceuticals on premiums.

Additionally, the company will work with Harvard University to study tiering in health plan benefit design relative to whether patients are paying more or less based on care decisions by their primary care provider.