By Kathleen Tuck
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) recently awarded a three-year, $2.9 million contract to evaluate the Statewide Healthcare Innovation Plan, or SHIP, to a team of researchers led by the University of Idaho. The team comprises researchers from UI, the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program and Boise State University’s College of Health Sciences.
Funding for SHIP comes to the State of Idaho through a $40 million 2014 grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, the goal of which is to create and test a model health care system that focuses on value rather than the volume of care provided. The SHIP system works to meet patient needs through better use of provider teams to coordinate care, thus transforming primary care. In 2016, 55 medical practices in Idaho were selected as the first cohort throughout the state, with the goal of expanding to 165 practices over the next two years.
“Boise State is pleased to partner with the University of Idaho to evaluate an innovative program providing quality health care to thousands of Idahoans,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “Our involvement is a reflection of the high standard of research excellence offered by the College of Health Sciences both here in Idaho and beyond.”
Janet Reis, research professor, and Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences, will serve together as principal investigators on the subaward to Boise State. They will partner with other UI and Boise State researchers, including Jayne Josephsen, associate professor in Boise State’s School of Nursing; Shenghan Xu, the evaluation team’s overall principal investigator and program director and an associate professor of operations management in the UI College of Business and Economics; Jeff Seegmiller, director of Idaho WWAMI and an associate professor in the UI College of Education; and SeAnne Safaii, an associate professor in the UI College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
“The SHIP has ambitious and comprehensive goals for transforming the State of Idaho’s health care system to be more responsive, more efficient and of higher quality,” said Reis. “We as patients and consumers stand to benefit first and foremost from the changes that will be occurring in our health care. We as faculty in Idaho’s public universities are honored to collaborate with the Department of Health and Welfare on the state-level evaluation.”
Boise State’s evaluation efforts will focus on two of the seven SHIP goals. The first goal concerns finding ways to engage patients more directly with their own health in partnership with their primary health care team. The second complementary SHIP goal entails building a more robust health information system across the state. With 35 years of experience in health services research, Reis will take a lead in defining the elements for evaluation of both of these important goals.
During the past 29 years, Dunnagan has been involved in a variety of health-related efforts as a practitioner, educator and administrator.
“SHIP is a significant and important undertaking in Idaho. Specifically, SHIP attempts to rethink the delivery of care through a patient-centered medical home in a coordinated fashion that will create better outcomes and better experiences, at lower costs,” said Health Sciences Dean Tim Dunnagan.