post by Bill Gardner
My recent post on the reduction of grantmaking by the Agency for Health Research and Quality must have hit a nerve, based on how frequently the link was retweeted. Many health services researchers make their living by winning research funding competitions. As a PhD, you cannot aspire to a tenured position in a school of medicine or public health without some victories. But you can't win a competition that isn't being held.
So if the money's almost gone, and you are an American health researcher, and you do not yet have a secure position, what should you do?
Consider working for an accountable care organization. They need your skills. As Elliott Fisher, Mark McClelland, and Dana Safran write in the current NEJM,
Even integrated [ACOs], however, are finding that they need substantial time and resources to develop the informational, technical, financial, and professional capabilities required to provide and reward coordinated, longitudinal, population-based care.
The emergence of the ACO is the best attempt yet by Americans to achieve the goals of population health. Implementing better care might be a better job than the one you thought you were training for.