Background

The Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) evaluation is a project established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to estimate the impact of a variety of evidence-based interventions on both clinical and cost outcomes. The PWTF provides more than $42 million to nine community-clinical partnerships throughout Massachusetts to reduce healthcare costs, decrease preventable risk factors, reduce the prevalence of preventable health conditions, and improve management of existing chronic disease.

Evaluation

The PWTF has partnered with Harvard Catalyst to act as the independent evaluator for the project. Harvard Catalyst’s Informatics team, together with the Population Health Research Program (PHRP), is working collaboratively with the research team to build a HIPPA-compliant technical infrastructure for collecting anonymized patient data from a variety of sources, including the Massachusetts All-Payer Claim Database (APCD), Case Mix Index, death registry, and electronic health records through MDPHNet.

The evaluation of the PWTF will include determining not just whether, but how, the nine PWTF communities improve health outcomes, reduce disparities, and contain costs for the four principle PWTF health conditions: pediatric asthma, hypertension, tobacco cessation, and falls in older adults. This effort will require sophisticated epidemiological and analytical methods, and more. Central to the evaluation of the PWTF is an assessment of health care costs before, during, and after implementation to determine the effect on cost trends and overall return on investment of the initiative.