Nov 21, 2013, 3:00 PM, Posted by
I recently learned to Code… in a Day.
Why, you might ask, would a labor economist at a health foundation want to acquire programming skills that didn’t relate to statistical analysis? Well, for one thing, I was curious—I wanted to understand the magic that turns letters and numbers into apps with the power to make our lives easier, and our health better. And as a program officer tasked with funding transformative innovations, I wanted to gain perspective on the world of apps, mHealth and the culture of innovation associated with the Silicon Valley tech scene.
To be clear, here at Pioneer, we’re interested in innovations of all shapes in sizes—not just those that are technical in nature. We’ll take a low-tech approach that truly disrupts business-as-usual over a high-tech incremental improvement any day of the week. That said, considering the volume of proposals we receive that involve creating an app or online platform of some kind, it seemed like boosting my literacy in this area couldn’t hurt. (Though I’m fortunate to have colleagues like Steve Downs, the Foundation’s Chief Technology and Information Officer, to fill in gaps in my technical expertise.)
So I learned to code in a day, and I left the class with an app of my own creation. Even more valuable, I learned about developers’ habits and culture…“the developers’ code,” if you will. And I saw a lot that I’d like to emulate.
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Oct 17, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by
Two years ago, my colleagues and I knew very little about how to use behavioral economics to improve health care decisions. Today, we know more. We also know how much there is to learn and do in this field.
That’s why we’re excited to announce six new grantees who will continue to build on the work we’ve funded over the last two years to apply principles from behavioral economics to challenges in health care.
The new grantees are as follows:
- Amber Barnato and Rebecca Sudore, University of Pittsburgh and University of California, San Francisco, Consumer-directed financial incentives to increase advance care planning among Medicaid beneficiaries
- Jeremiah Schuur, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc., Decision Fatigue in the Emergency Department and the Use of Hospital Services
- Jeffrey Kullgren, University of Michigan Medical School, Decreasing Overuse of Low-Value Health Care Services through Physician Precommitment
- Mark Vogel and Scott Halpern, Genesys Health System and University of Pennsylvania, BEACON - Behavioral Economics for Advanced Care OptioNs
- Richard Frank and Abigail Friedman, Harvard Medical School, Behavioral Experiments in Improving Medicare Coverage Choice
- Mark Schlesinger and Rachel Grob, Yale University and University of Wisconsin – Madison, Precommitment, Provider Choice, and Forgoing Low-Value Health Care
If you’re curious about why we’re funding these particular projects at this specific moment in time, read on.
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Aug 8, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by
“Information wants to be free.” That’s the mantra of Internet culture, which is increasingly indistinguishable from culture at large. What does this cultural shift mean for a foundation seeking to fund innovation? Specifically, what does it mean for Pioneer?
My colleague, Nancy Barrand, and I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Clearly, the existence of this blog, and of our website and various social media channels, are all proof that we share more information outside the walls of this Foundation than we ever did before. But we still keep one part of our process under lock and key: proposal review.
Each year, thousands of organizations submit proposals to RWJF, and only the fraction of them that receive funding are ever shared publicly. This is less a comment on the quality of the ideas than it is on the specificity of our funding strategy, and, of course, the fact that our budget is finite. Increasingly, we’ve wished we could share the ideas we don’t fund with a wider audience, so they could benefit from the collective intelligence of our growing network.
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Jul 24, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by
We at Pioneer are fortunate to work with grantees who consistently challenge our thinking and open us up to new ways of looking at the world. Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH is no exception. We recently watched a talk of his on Edge.org titled A New Kind of Social Science for the 21st Century (which we highly recommend), and found ourselves brimming with questions. His answers were as provocative as the talk itself, so we thought we'd share them. Read the Q&A.
Jun 10, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by
Steve Downs, Lori Melichar
As we set forth on the Health Data Exploration project, we're being guided by a wonderful set of advisors. Here's a quick video post from one of them, Larry Smarr, the director of Calit2. Larry's a pioneer who's exploring the frontiers of quantified self, as you can see from the extraordinary talk he gave at TEDMED earlier this year.