Assistant Professor of Health Economics
Department of Social Policy
LSE Health at the London School of Economics
Placement: Harvard School of Public Health
Mentor: Ashish Jha, M.D. (Harvard Global Health Institute, Harvard School of Public Health)
Project: Penalties on Readmissions—Are They Successful in Incentivizing Performance Improvement?
Irene Papanicolas, Ph.D., is a 2015–16 U.K. Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice. She is currently an assistant professor of health economics in the Department of Social Policy/LSE Health at the London School of Economics. She has previously served as a research officer at LSE Health as well as the Health Economics Research Centre at the University of Oxford. Papanicolas has published extensively for governmental agencies such as the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, and has been a member of a working group advising WHO European Region on the development of a regional framework for health system performance assessment. Her research interests include performance assessment of health and public services, international comparisons and benchmarking, financial incentives, and health economics. Papanicolas received her Ph.D. in social policy from the London School of Economics, a M.Sc. in comparative social policy from the University of Oxford, and a M.Sc. in public policy from University College London.
Hospital readmissions, and emergency readmissions in particular, have been a focus of health policy and practice reforms in many countries, as health systems strive to make efficiency gains. However, there is a lack of comparative assessment and evaluation of hospital readmission policies. Furthermore, there is a need to examine the policies within countries, or lessons that cross-country comparisons may hold in helping understand what aspects of the policies may be most conducive to quality improvement. The aim of this research is to improve understanding of readmission penalties by better documenting how they have been implemented across systems, and investigating how they influence provider behaviors within systems. Papanicolas will carry out a mapping study of readmission penalties which exist across OECD countries to document different approaches taken by health systems. This involves identifying and collating existing research on readmissions as indicators of performance, as well as if/how penalties have been introduced for these high-income countries. Papanicolas will also carry out an empirical analysis on U.S. states, where she will study impact of the readmissions programs adopted in the U.S. by evaluating policies adopted in Maryland compared to other states following Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.
Career Activity since Fellowship: