Institute of Medicine president will be keynote speaker at Regenstrief Center conference

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The head of the Institute of Medicine will lead a lineup of experts in addressing how to identify top priorities for reforming the nation’s health-care system at Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering’s spring conference April 16 at Purdue.

Institute of Medicine president Harvey V. Fineberg will deliver the keynote lecture at 9 a.m., outlining how policy-makers, researchers and industry can come together to make this nation’s health-care system more efficient, effective and affordable.

The conference, titled Research Solutions: National Priorities & Goals, will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121. A poster session is planned, highlighting research by Purdue students in the health-care arena.

Regenstrief Center director Steve Witz said the Purdue conference agenda builds on a blueprint drafted by the National Priorities Partnership. That collaborative effort of 28 national organizations, led by the National Quality Forum, issued a November report focusing on the major challenges facing the U.S. health-care system and what’s being done to improve patient safety, eradicate coverage disparities, reduce the burden of disease and eliminate inefficiencies.

While Regenstrief’s conference is free and open to the public, registration is required at
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Other speakers for the daylong event are:

  • Virginia A. Caine, Marion County health director.
  • Michael S. Barr, vice president of practice advocacy and improvement at the American College of Physicians.
  • Steven R. Mayfield, senior vice president and director of the American Hospital Association Quality Center.
  • David Meyer, director of the Center for Primary Care, Prevention and Clinical Partners for the Agency for Health Research and Quality.
  • Cerry Klein, National Science Foundation program director and professor and chair of the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department at University of Missouri-Columbia.

Following the presentations, a reception for speakers and conference attendees is planned in Burton Morgan Center’s Venture Cafe.

Witz said the Purdue discussion is especially timely, pointing to a recent report by Health Affairs indicating America’s total health-care bill reached $2.2 trillion in 2007, or $7,421 per person, and could hit $4 trillion a year, accounting for $1 of every $5 spent by consumers, by 2015.

At the same time, more than 47 million Americans, and recent reports show that 1.6 million Hoosiers have been without health insurance at some point in the last two years.

President Barack Obama has pledged to create a 10-year, $634 billion reserve fund intended to help pay for health coverage expansion in his budget proposal for 2009-10.

To get hospitals and outside doctors to better coordinate their care of each patient, Obama’s budget calls for hospitals to bundle all inpatient and outpatient payments. With doctors from those areas working more closely together, the effort could save Medicare $17 billion over 10 years.

Fineberg, who was provost at Harvard University from 1997-2001, has chaired and served on a number of panels dealing with health policy issues, ranging from AIDS to new medical technology and as a consultant to the World Health Organization. His research focuses on policy development and implementation, assessment of medical technology, evaluation and use of vaccines and dissemination of medical innovations.

The Regenstrief Center, which is Purdue’s only integrated universitywide research effort in health-care engineering, was launched five years ago with a $3 million grant from the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Foundation. The foundation expanded the partnership in 2007 with grants of more than $14 million for additional research projects over the next 5½ years.

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