The Center for the Business of Life Sciences (CBLS) hosted the inaugural CBLS mini-conference and research paper competition on Friday, April 14th.
The goal of this award was to recognize outstanding, cutting-edge life sciences research that advances academic and practitioner knowledge in the domain of life sciences with a particular emphasis on work that has directly influenced practice and impacted the life sciences industries. We view life sciences as a broad domain, and thus papers that explore any and all aspects of the business of life sciences considered included:
• Medical devices
• Healthcare, Health Services, and Health Economics
• Life Science’s Regulatory
• Clinical trials
The CBLS research center co-directors selected the top three papers to be invited for the CBLS research mini-conference. At the conclusion of the research presentations, the CBLS research center co-directors and a select number of CBLS faculty fellows chose the winning paper to receive a $500 cash award.
“Focusing Provider Attention: An Empirical Examination of Incentives and Feedback in Flu Vaccinations”
by RJ Niewoehner (ODT at Kelley) and Brad Staats (UNC Kenan-Flager)
Every year the flu season wreaks havoc on our economy and our healthcare system, with estimated annual societal costs for flu being greater than $10 billion. Despite this, the adult flu vaccination rate has remained between 37% and 46% for the last 10 years. We launched a randomized, multi-state intervention among 145 independent health care clinics. We find a supply-side approach, which focuses on healthcare providers administering more vaccinations, leads to an overall increase in flu shots given. Our study led to a 12% increase in flu shots in 2018 for clinics receiving relative performance feedback, specifically in the form of rankings. Moreover, we also find these clinics exhibit Last-Place Aversion, such that these clinics outperform their corresponding controls by 23%.
2nd Place Submission:
“Hospital Portfolio Strategy and Patient Choice”
by Sarang Sunder (Marketing at Kelley) and Sriram Thirumalai (TCU Neeley)
Specialize? Diversify? Do patients care? In this study, we investigate the demand implications of hospitals’ portfolio strategy, which entails selective emphasis on various diagnostic categories of care signaling their depth and breadth of expertise to the market. The empirical analysis in the study is based on detailed granular inpatient discharge data from Florida. Our analysis, which spans all major departments in the healthcare industry and exploits plausible exogenous variation from other healthcare markets, finds strong evidence that patient choice is positively influenced by a hospital’s depth (focus) and breadth (related focus) of expertise in a department. Complementing the empirical evidence of the proposed mechanism, we conducted online experiments to examine the signaling effects of hospital portfolio strategy in patient choice behavior. The experimental results provide strong face validity to the idea that hospital portfolio strategy does influence patient perceptions of hospital expertise in focal and related areas, and subsequently, their choice behavior. Additionally, we highlight key insights including potential synergistic effects between focus and related focus, heterogeneity in the effects of focus and related focus strategies across departments, payor types, and hospital profit-status — strongly highlighting the need for a targeted approach to portfolio decisions in health care.
“Does Speedy Innovation Hurt Product Quality? Evidence from Medical Devices”
by Vivek Astvansh (Marketing at Kelley) and Ben Lee (PSU Behrend)
The authors answer the questions in the context of radical innovations in medical devices in the United States. They find that if a medical device firm increases its innovation speed by 10%, it experiences two additional recalls in the next quarter. The tradeoff is nullified if the firm’s CEO’s risk-taking incentive (measured from the CEO’s compensation structure) is approximately 144% higher than the industry average, or if the firm’s marketing spending is 17% higher than the industry average. Similarly, the firm can neutralize the tradeoff by reducing myopic marketing spending by 35%, or the CEO’s pay-performance sensitivity by 25%, relative to its industry the average.
The findings caution the medical device manufacturers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration against unquestioned exuberance about speedy innovation and accelerated approval. Also, the authors help the manufacturers understand how they can alleviate the speed-quality tradeoff through their strategic decisions on CEO compensation and marketing investment.
“Increasing Inclusivity and Reducing Reactance During Provider-Patient Interactions”
by Lilliana Shields (Rutgers Health Communications), Tony Stovall (Marketing at Kelley), and Helen Colby (Marketing at Kelley)
Significant health disparities exist for trans and gender-nonconforming patients, in part caused by a reduced likelihood of seeking health care due to experienced discrimination in health care settings. Across three studies we examine actions healthcare providers can take to increase healthcare system participation among these individuals, without incurring backlash effects from patients adverse to gender diversity interventions. We first test a method frequently suggested in the literature for increasing inclusivity, verbal sharing of the provider’s pronouns and request for the patient’s pronouns. We find politically liberal participants to be more satisfied and more likely to return when pronouns were requested. However, politically conservative participants were less satisfied and less likely to return, and the request triggered aggressive comments from some participants. We then test a more subtle method of inclusivity signaling, the provider wearing a pin with his pronouns. This did not inspire the backlash found in the first study, and in third study was found to increase satisfaction and willingness to return among trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming participants. These results suggest that relatively subtle methods of inclusivity signaling can have positive impacts on the target population while reducing backlash, and may be more implementable by providers looking to create an inclusive health care environment.