Austin Frakt, PhD
Dr. Austin Frakt is a Health Economist with the Department of Veteran Affairs and an Associate Professor at Boston University's School of Medicine and School of Public Health. He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the University of Pennsylvania's Leonard Davis Institute and a regular contributor to The New York Times. He is an Editor in Chief of The Incidental Economist, a widely read health policy blog. He studies economic issues pertaining U.S. health policy, focusing on Medicare and veteran populations. He is an award-winning author and has written numerous scholarly articles on health care financing, economics, and policy. Dr. Frakt is also a member of the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council.
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Dr. Frakt is a Health Economist with the Department of Veteran Affairs and an Associate Professor at Boston University's School of Medicine and School of Public Health. He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the University of Pennsylvania's Leonard Davis Institute and a regular contributor to The New York Times. He studies economic issues pertaining U.S. health care policy with a focus on Medicare and veteran populations. He won the 2013 Health Services Research John M. Eisenberg Article-of-the-Year award and has authored numerous peer-reviewed, scholarly publications in the areas of health care financing, economics, and policy. His papers have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Affairs, Milbank Quarterly, Health Economics, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, among other journals.
Dr. Frakt is the creator and an Editor in Chief of The Incidental Economist, a widely read health policy blog that serves as a resource for researchers, journalists, decision-makers, and managers. Its mission is to communicate research relevant to health policy in broadly accessible terms. The Incidental Economist has attained high visibility through regular citations by publications and programs including The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Business Week, CBS, Chicago Tribune, The Economist, Financial Times, The Fiscal Times, Forbes, The Hill, The Huffington Post, Marketplace, Mother Jones, National Public Radio, National Journal, National Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, Politico, The Washington Monthly, The Washington Post, and The Weekly Standard, among others.
Dr. Frakt's mission of communicating research extends beyond The Incidental Economist. He is a member of the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC). CEPAC's role is to assess the latest medical evidence to assist New England region practitioners and policymakers in applying it to clinical and coverage decisions. He is also a member of AcademyHealth's Translation and Dissemination Institute Advisory Committee. In his role on the committee, Dr. Frakt helps guide the Institute in its pursuit of making the best health research more accessible to policymakers and in its ambition of developing more effective means to do so.
Check out Dr. Frakt's blog, The Incidental Economist.
The Greatest Challenge: The US Health Care Crisis and the Complexities of Reform
It is now common for politicians and pundits to tell us that the US has a debt problem. Proposed solutions to it are all over the map, but one thing any serious solution must have is a focus on health care spending. Using plain language and clear charts from published research, Dr. Frakt, a nationally recognized expert on health policy and economics, will explain the sources of this health care spending problem. He will make plain why it is not just a government or private sector problem, but a systemic one. He will also summarize some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are intended to address the issue, and how they, in turn, lead to others. The inevitable conclusion is that the health reform we have achieved cannot be the last one. More, and perhaps different, reforms are needed.
Social Media for Health Care Researchers and Subject Matter Experts
Research translation and dissemination are constant challenges facing health care researchers and subject matter experts. Peer-reviewed journals and reports have long been the primary dissemination vehicle. But relying on these alone means that much of the work from the field can go unnoticed by key stakeholders who don't always know where to look for the evidence they need. To increase the reach and impact of research, it's important to utilize social media for more timely dissemination. Connecting research to current policy issues through blogging or social media strategies can help influence the debate and potentially impact policy outcomes.
Dr. Frakt will explain how to use social media to communicate research to stakeholders, primarily policymakers and media. As the founder of The Incidental Economist blog, he has years of expertise in using of blogging and Twitter for dissemination and knowledge transfer. Participants will gain insight into the influence of health policy blogging, along with the pros and cons of using it as a dissemination strategy.
The Future of Medicare: Premium Support and Structural Reform
Growth in Medicare spending is the principal reason for long-term concern about federal debt. Various proposals to rein Medicare spending have been made recently, including premium support and raising the Medicare eligibility age. In this talk, Dr. Frakt, a widely published expert on Medicare, explains the key aspects of these proposals, how they would and would not address health care spending, and their other advantages and limitations. He concludes with some informed predictions about the future Medicare policy landscape.
Dual Diagnosis: How the Health System Ignores Patient Values and Medical Evidence and What to Do About It
There are many sources of health system inefficiency. Among them, two stand out: (1) it responds poorly to patients' needs and values and (2) it is slow to react to evidence. This is troubling since patients' needs is the purported reason health care exists and scientific evidence is what confers credibility to it. In this talk I describe these problems in detail and illustrate what can be done about them.