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Dr Ashish K. Jha Explains What Makes Dr Julia Adler-Milstein an Emerging Leader

Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, was named the first winner of the Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award at the 20th anniversary event for The American Journal of Managed Care, held October 28 in Orlando, Florida. Ashish K. Jha, MD, professor of health policy at the Harvard T.C. Chan School of Public Health, nominated her for the award and explains why he believes she is an Emerging Leader and the importance of this award.


Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, was named the first winner of the Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award at the 20th anniversary event for The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC), held October 28 in Orlando, Florida. Ashish K. Jha, MD, professor of health policy at the Harvard T.C. Chan School of Public Health, nominated her for the award and explains why he believes she is an Emerging Leader and the importance of this award.

Dr Adler-Milstein was the special guest editor for AJMC's special issue on Health Information Technology (IT) in 2014.

Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

Julia Adler-Milstein I think is the most effective, prolific researcher studying how do we actually use information technology to make care better. The bottom line is that we have all sorts of problems with healthcare in our country and information technology is going to play a critical role in figuring out how to help us deliver better care. But there is a big research agenda there of sorting out "how do we make information technology a key part of performance improvement?" We just don't know how to do it. And Julia has really been doing the cutting edge work in this area and teaching us all sorts of things about how to us information technology better.

What has Dr Adler-Milstein's work done specifically for managed care?

So a fundamental element of managed care is managing people with chronic illness, managing people with acute illness, and figuring out how to deliver higher quality care. And Julia's work has taught us an incredible amount about things like: how our national policy efforts in information technology are affecting care; at the organizational level, why is it that some organization's do so much of a better job of improving care than others when it comes to the use of information technology; she's taught us about the notion of compliments, that there are organizational compliments that affect how technology is used; she's opened up an entire field of study.

Why is Dr Adler-Milstein an Emerging Leader?

Julia is less than 5 years out of training, and if you look at her CV, it's more impressive than almost any full professor in America. And I expect that to only accelerate when I look at the pipeline of the work that she has. I expect her to very quickly establish herself as one of the most prolific, if not the most prolific, healthcare services and healthcare delivery researchers in the country. I expect over the next 3 to 5 years, looking at her work, we'll learn a lot more about how to use information technology better, how to share data better, how to make organizations perform better in an IT-enabled world.

What is the importance of original research on healthcare quality?

Everybody has their own ideas for how to make quality better. Unfortunately, almost none of it is evidence-based. So when we often struggle with "why is it so difficult to make care better, why is it so hard to take ideas from one place and transplant them to another?" it's usually because there's not a good evidence base behind them. And really high-quality research, like the kind that Julia does, teaches us the lessons that are transportable, teaches us which lessons are really context dependent—it's fundamental to making care better.

So congratulations, Julia. You really are a prolific researcher, a terrific colleague, and have increasingly become a really important teacher for me. You deserve this award, and I'm thrilled that you got it. Congratulations.

 
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