With rising health care costs affecting the lives of many in the U.S., Yingchao Lan, assistant professor of supply chain management and analytics, researches ways to streamline health care delivery and create a more effective system to help lower costs. Her latest study earned her the Chan Hahn Best Paper Award at the 2021 Academy of Management Conference after being recognized as finalist for the honor twice before.
“Having your research noted three times as a finalist for the Chan Hahn award as a relatively new professor is remarkable. Winning the award for the best paper in operations and supply chain management is a very impressive accomplishment, since the academy is considered to be the leading professional society for scholars who conduct research in all areas of management,” said Jennifer Ryan, department chair and professor of supply chain management and analytics and Van Horne Family Endowed Chair.
In her paper, “Ancillary Cost Implication of Multisiting Physicians and Inter-Organizational Collaboration in Health Care Delivery,” Lan and her co-authors explored the use of multisiting physicians, who practice at more than one hospital, and their impact in reducing costs, such as lab-based diagnostics, radiology-based imaging procedures and prescriptions. Their findings indicated considerable savings passed onto patients, some as high as $9,348 per hospital visit.
“Patients treated by multisiting physicians experienced, on average per hospitalization, reduction in laboratory charges by 58.57% and radiology charges by 30.11% – even more so when those physicians have less practice experience. Such cost reduction comes from reducing the total number of procedures or tests ordered. We also show that the lower treatment charges do not compromise the clinical quality of patients treated by multisiting physicians,” said Lan, who joined the college in 2018.
To conduct the study, Lan examined a unique dataset of more than 163,000 patients treated by upwards of 4,400 physicians at Florida hospitals between 2014 and 2016 from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). Ryan explained how the department supports Lan through purchasing datasets like those from the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to be used in future research and how crucial it is to her studies.
“Our department is committed to doing everything we can to support Yingchao and ensure that she has access to those datasets. The investment we have make in these datasets, along with Yingchao’s extensive behind the scenes work to ensure that security and confidentiality of that data, should lead to multiple unique research publications, as well as practical insights regarding the coordination of care between hospitals and skilled nursing facilities,” said Ryan.
The research team suggested that because multisiting physicians work at several hospitals, they accumulate best practices from each, which in turn can lead to implementation of those practices across multiple sites. Lan hopes this continued focus on higher levels of collaboration within the health care system can help lead to a more value-based approach.
“The current soaring cost and poor quality of health care is largely driven by fragmentation of health care delivery – lack of collaboration and coordination among health care providers along the care continuum. I hope my work experience in the industry, together with the research insights, can offer some insights for both practitioners and policy makers while health care transforms from a volume-based system to a value-based system,” Lan said.
Three weeks after earning the award, Lan’s paper was also accepted into Production and Operations Management after only two revisions in 15 months – a short period compared with the normal submission process. The quicker than normal acceptance added encouragement for her future research.
“Not all the projects I am and will be doing can sail through the review process like this piece, but I believe persistence, determination and faith in my research can make a difference, as well as a more enjoyable experience. I will continue to explore how collaboration among health care providers can improve the health care delivery, freeing patients from being the patch sticker themselves while navigating through their treatment journey,” Lan said.
Lan’s co-authors for the paper included Deepa Goradia of Georgia State University and Aravind Chandrasekaran of The Ohio State University. To read the study, visit: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/poms.13567.
To learn more about the Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics, visit: https://business.unl.edu/supplychain.