Established in 2014, the Division of Health Policy engages teams of highly collaborative scholars and physicians who are leaders in their respective fields, enabling research that is innovative across a broad range of health policy areas. The Division’s interdisciplinary faculty are experts in fields as wide-ranging as behavioral economics, food policy, health economics, and the use of advanced health data analytics to improve health care delivery. Many faculty members serve as advisors to federal, state, and international organizations. The Division of Health Policy is globally distinguished by both the expertise of its faculty and its innovative academic programs. The world-renowned Penn Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) has its home within the division, conducting groundbreaking research in the application of behavioral economics to health care.
The Division contains a mixture of faculty from the Perelman School of Medicine and from across the University of Pennsylvania. These faculty create a unique interdisciplinary research environment and are supporting the first online Master’s program at the University of Pennsylvania. The Masters of Health Care Innovation is part of a full complement of online educational offerings within the Division, allowing health care professionals from across the globe to engage with internationally-recognized faculty to lead high-impact health care innovation.
The Psychology of Eating And Consumer Health (PEACH) lab, housed in the Division of Health Policy, studies public health interventions and policies designed to improve diets and to prevent and reduce obesity and eating disorders. The goal of the PEACH lab’s research is to provide policymakers and institutions with science-based guidance to create and improve food policy.
The Division of Health Policy provides an academic home to the Leonard Davis Institute’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE). Leveraging unparalleled expertise in this field, CHIBE faculty designs, implements, and evaluates behavioral economic interventions to improve patient health behaviors, chronic disease management, and physician payment models. One of CHIBE’s major achievements is the creation of the mobile health platform Way to Health. The Center’s research makes a significant contribution to reducing the disease burden from major U.S. public health problems such as tobacco dependence, obesity, and medication non-adherence.
Researchers in our Division are exploring opportunities to use machine learning to predict clinical decisions and develop computer algorithms that would increase the value of health care and reduce disparities in care. Errors in human judgment are a major contributor to both low-value care and health care disparities. The Division’s work in this area is examining ways to develop predictive analytic tools that can be used for earlier detection of complications in inpatient settings, better prediction of hospital readmissions and earlier detection of sepsis.
Our research in this area explores the role of factors such as nutrition, pain, and sleep in shaping economic productivity, cognitive function, and decision-making. Partnering with the Institute for Financial Management and Research and faculty from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, our faculty runs a behavioral economics lab in Chennai, India, investigating the impact of health factors on economic wellbeing and decision-making, ranging from savings rates to consumption patterns.
Our researchers make significant contributions to the field of health economics, exploring the influence of medical care and health practices on outcomes and cost. Specifically, faculty affiliated with our Division examine the economics of the physician workforce, access to health insurance coverage, informal caregiving for patients with Alzheimer's disease, and appropriate design of Medicare in a budget-constrained environment. Insight from our faculty’s work has been instrumental to the design of the Affordable Care Act, and plays a key role in continuing discussions around health care design. The work of our Division is closely connected with the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.
Health Care Innovation
Faculty members in the Division of Health Policy are experts in health care innovation, reimagining health care delivery for better patient outcomes and higher value. Through the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, our researchers employ a disciplined, rapid approach to creating, evaluating, and implementing new strategies – such as the mobile health platform Way to Health - to tackle challenging health care dilemmas. The work of our faculty in this domain focuses on improving patient quality of life, leveraging connected health, reducing the cost of care, and encouraging the adoption of innovative methods by health systems.