Public Health alumnus presents award winning work on patient-centered medical homes

A rising star has emerged from the College of Public Health, Division of Biostatistics. Robert Ashmead, PhD ‘14 is a recipient of The Health Policy Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association Student Paper Competition. Ashmead will present his work at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings, the largest gathering of statisticians in North America, held in Seattle this August.

Ashmead’s paper titled “Health Care Policy Evaluation Using Propensity Score Matching: A Study of Care Consistent with a Patient-Centered Medical Home Using a Large Population Survey” is a joint work with his advisor, Bo Lu, PhD, associate professor of biostatistics. In the paper, Ashmead reports that care consistent with a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is less than expected, given Ohio’s provider capacity.

“It's really great to get positive feedback like this on the research that I worked on during my time at Ohio State. I’m hopeful that presenting my work at the meeting will provide me with additional opportunities to collaborate with other researchers interested in similar topics,” said Ashmead.

Submissions require creating a new statistical technique or applying an existing technique in a new and creative manner to a health policy issue.Ashmead developed a new technique for estimating causal effects from observational data that comes from a sample survey. He applied this technique to patient-centered medical homes, a model of healthcare delivery that seeks to lower costs and improve patients’ health care experience. He used data from the 2012 Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey (OMAS), a large telephone health survey, and compared the self-reported health statuses of patients who said they received care consistent with a PCMH with those who did not. Unlike traditional analyses of health care experiences, Ashmead built a scale for measuring population-reported participation in services expected from a PCMH model such as shorter wait times for urgent needs and around-the-clock telephone or electronic access to a member of their care team. This scale now serves as a proxy for PCMH initiatives for Ohio’s health-associated agencies.

Ashmead held a graduate research assistantship with the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center (GRC) where he was a key researcher for State of Ohio activities involving patient-centered medical homes. There he developed the measure of care consistent with PCMH for the 2012 OMAS.

Tim Sahr of the GRC said, “Robert addressed whether Ohio’s official accredited PCMH capacity matched the proportion of individuals in the state who actually accessed the health care system in a manner consistent with the offerings of PCMH practices.”

 “The project I was involved with at the GRC got me interested in patient-centered medical homes. After completing that project I was left with several further research ideas related to PCMH that we didn't have time to pursue. The paper allowed me explore one of those research ideas by applying our proposed method,” said Ashmead.

Ashmead works for the Center for Statistical Research and Methodology where he conducts research for the Census Bureau’s data collection, analysis and dissemination programs.

“My graduate education at the College of Public Health was excellent preparation for my position at the US Census Bureau. Thanks to a wonderful experience with my advisor, I learned a great deal during the dissertation process about how to conduct original statistical research,” said Ashmead.



About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond.  The College’s divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy.   It is ranked 19th among all colleges of public health in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report, and also includes the top 10-ranked MHA degree program.  The College provides leadership and expertise for Ohio and the world through its Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies (HOPES), Center for Public Health Practice, and the NCI-funded Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science (CERTS).