Yuting Zhang, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Health Economics, Health Policy and Management and Director of the Pharmaceutical Economics Research Group at the University of Pittsburgh. She also serves as an honorary professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China. Her research focuses on economic evaluations of health policy, interventions, and health care reforms both in the U.S. and internationally. Zhang’s research portfolio includes 14 high-level grants, with various funding from the National Institute of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Institute of Medicine, Commonwealth Fund, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her work has been published in leading medicine, health policy, and economics journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, American Economic Review, and has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and on National Public Radio. She has been consulted by several U.S. government agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Congressional Budget Office, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Zhang received a M.S. in Health Policy and Management and a Ph.D. in Health Policy (Economics track), both from Harvard University.
Project: Evaluating variation in quality and coordination of care across Primary Health Networks and identifying areas for improvement
One of the major challenges for Australian health policy is the fragmentation of the health care system. A recent attempt to address this issue is the establishment of 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs), which aim to increase efficiency and effectiveness of medical services and improve care coordination to ensure that patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time. PHNs will operate under an outcome-focused performance management contract with the Department of Health. However, no information has been released on what outcome measures will be reported and how PHNs will be assessed. This project will seek to measure baseline quality of care and care coordination in primary care across and within PHNs, in order to identify important areas that PHNs can aim to improve. To evaluate baseline quality of care and care coordination in primary care prior to the establishment of PHNs, Zhang will use six waves of Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) data. BEACH continuously collects information about the clinical activities in general practice in Australia including characteristics of GPs, patients seen, and services and pharmaceuticals provided. She will also explore linking BEACH data with Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) data. This project will lay the groundwork for evaluating PHNs and will provide policy-relevant information about Australian GP practice patterns.