As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact nearly every aspect of our lives, four IHPI member-led teams will address the need for quick analysis to inform ongoing decision-making at local, state, and national levels.
The University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI) announced today the awardees of its COVID-19 Policy Sprint projects. Four IHPI member-led teams, chosen from many excellent proposals, will receive support for timely, policy-relevant projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the pandemic continues to impact nearly every aspect of our lives and communities, these teams will address the need for quick analysis and evidence-based solutions to inform ongoing decision-making at the local, state, and national level. Their projects will address gaps in knowledge around topics ranging from telehealth to economics and supply chain issues to mental health needs to safety measures for reopening public schools.
Made possible with generous donor support, each of the four teams will receive up to $10,000 in funding, as well as guidance from the IHPI policy engagement and communications staff. In their roles as faculty advisors for IHPI Policy Engagement and External Relations, Paula Lantz, Ph.D., M.S., M.A., associate dean of academic affairs and professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and Renu Tipirneni, M.S., M.Sc., assistant professor of internal medicine at U-M Medical School, will also be advising project teams. Projects will begin immediately and conclude within the next three to six months.
The teams represent a variety of departments and schools across U-M, including pediatrics, emergency medicine, health behavior & health education, and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
The awarded Policy Sprint projects and principal investigators are:
- Scale-up of COVID-19 diagnostic testing: A framework for decision-makers
Ravi Anupindi, Ph.D., M.E., M.S., Professor, Technology & Operations, Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Diagnostic testing is critical to the COVID-19 public health response and associated economic recovery. Yet, scaling of testing capacity faces operational, governmental, and policy-related barriers, including shortages of testing supplies and a lack of integrated laboratory networks. Anupindi and colleagues will identify bottlenecks within the COVID-19 diagnostic supply chain and current delivery models, then provide operational and policy recommendations for effectively scaling up coronavirus testing to reopen the economy safely.
- Workforce policies to sustain behavioral telehealth during COVID-19 recovery
Angela Beck, Ph.D., M.P.H., Clinical Assistant Professor, Health Behavior & Health Education, School of Public Health
COVID-19 has prompted a rise in mental health needs due to stress from the illness itself, social isolation, and economic loss. To address these increasing needs, federal and state policy changes have been enacted to expand access to behavioral health telehealth services. The regulatory and policy changes are set to expire once the COVID-19 disaster is declared over; thus, is it important to understand the effectiveness of these policy changes. Through interviews with Michigan behavioral health providers, Beck and team will examine providers' perspectives on such policy changes, identifying barriers and promising practices and assessing their perceptions of how the policy changes have aided this work. The researchers will use their findings to inform the current patchwork state behavioral telehealth regulations in place across the country.
- Views of parents and guardians of school-age children on public school opening during the COVID-19 pandemic
Kao-Ping Chua, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Medical School
Many parents and guardians are weighing concerns on whether to send their kids back to public schools if they reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A U-M team led by Chua will survey parents and guardians of school-aged children in Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio to better understand the degree to which families are planning to send children back to school and to assess support for risk mitigation strategies, such as masks, staggered arrival times and random COVID-19 testing. The project aims to help state policymakers and school districts identify potential challenges to the implementation of different strategies.
- Variation in primary care telehealth adoption during COVID-19 and the association with acute care utilization for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions
Kathleen Li, M.D., IHPI Scholar, Emergency Medicine, Medical School; Chad Ellimoottil, M.D., M.S., Assistant Professor, Urology, Medical School
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many clinics across the U.S. to significantly reduce in-person visits and shift rapidly to telemedicine. To better understand the impact of this shift on health care access, Li, Ellimoottil, and colleagues will assess if variability in primary care providers’ uptake of telehealth is associated with rates of acute care use among their patients. Examining how provider telehealth adoption differed geographically or by provider characteristics during this time can inform future policies to shape more equitable and universal access.