The partnership of more than 400 researchers constituting the University’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation in the North Campus Research Complex’s newly renovated bureau guarantees their involvement in what the next step for health care.

The IHPI works to compile and analyze large amounts of data from hospitals, government organizations, insurance companies and other sources to study how effectively new technologies and treatments work.

As one of 32 organizations in the nation to work with Medicare in the Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations Model, the IHPI has already grown outside its regional division since its founding in 2011.

Offering computing support and facilities for virtual collaboration and a new state-of-the-art headquarters, the IHPI’s goal is to reach out to even more public and private partners interested in health care delivery.

“U of M has a lot of strengths in health care research, but it’s been spread out across the University,” Dr. Steven J. Bernstein, professor of internal medicine and member of the IHPI team, said.

Bernstein explained the $13.7-million renovations to the NCRC plan to create an environment where researchers are physically close together in a workplace conducive to improving problems related to health care, health insurance and health policy from a multiplicity of academic sector perspectives.

“It is designed to really increase the ability for the University of Michigan to conduct research and to increase the ability to make policy decisions,” Bernstein said.

Dr. Kim Eagle — the Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of internal medicine at the University’s Medical School and director of the University’s Cardiovascular Center — said moving IHPI researchers into the NCRC will allow a world of collaboration among the sciences that will benefit health care research.

“When we bring those kinds of investigative teams together in a common place and create opportunities for education … sometimes great things can happen,” Eagle said. “Certainly for training programs, having groups of investigators in a common place creates opportunities for cross fertilization.”

Eagle said the center offers an unprecedented opportunity.

“This moment really creates a new opportunity for us to do something quite wonderful,” Eagle said. “Measure quality better, maximize safety (and) improve the ability to inform patients and families about the best care.”

Eagle said the institute plans to bring great minds together to make lasting changes.

“I feel very optimistic that these new bridges in health care research are going to be fostered by this new institute,” Eagle said. “U of M wants to be an international university, wants to be considered as a place that is helping with thoughts on how we organize and deliver healthcare. This institute has potential to take that to a new level in a critical moment in our nations healthcare history.”

Eagle said the center will work with other organizations to improve health care around Michigan.

“It’s entirely likely that the University will be proactive with working with other institutions in the state as a voice to try to help maximize the provision of preventive health and health care delivery throughout the state,” Eagle said.

Last week, the first 80 IHPI researchers and staff were moved to the new building, and in the upcoming months, the more than 400 more who are on their way will make this “the largest university-based health services research institute in the country,” by the end of the summer, according to Dr. Rodney Hayward, professor of internal medicine, health management and policy and chair of the interim leadership team of the IHPI.

“Some of our work will be unchanged,” Hayward said. “There’s a lot of great work already coming, but the greatest changes in the work are people working across these disciplines, not just to bring together different parts of the university, but to bring together partnerships nationally and in region and state.”

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