Six new RWJF grants to leverage OptumLabs data for actionable insights

Date posted: January 15, 2020


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has awarded 6 new grants to organizations collaborating with OptumLabs as part of their signature research program, Health Data for Action (HD4A), managed by AcademyHealth.

HD4A aims to answer important research questions that can influence health policy by reducing the barriers often faced in accessing rich data by serving as a conduit between data owners and interested researchers. OptumLabs is one of four participating data providers in the newest grant cycle.

After a selective review process, 6 projects were chosen based on impact potential and alignment with RWJF’s commitment to engaging health and related sectors in building a rigorous evidence base to address health and well-being, and achieve health equity.

The 6 studies utilizing OptumLabs data will examine a wide array of topics:

  1. Brown University will characterize the impacts of severe storms on asthma exacerbation in children using external meteorological data with linked medical and pharmacy claims data.
  2. The Congressional Budget Office will examine health resource use and outcomes of different courses and durations of treatment for patients with OUD, leveraging Area Health Resource File variables as part of this project.
  3. University of Nebraska Medical Center will investigate the association between increases in patient out-of-pocket costs for insulin and the use of insulin and non-insulin antihyperglycemic medications, as well as other diabetes-related outcomes like glucose control, ED visits, and inpatient stays.
  4. Ariadne Labs will explore patterns in prenatal care initiation and quality by zip-code to inform strategies to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.
  5. George Mason University will apply machine learning techniques to identify optimal antidepressant medications based on patient history. These algorithms may then be used to develop an artificial intelligence guided decision aid to improve the management of depressed patients in primary care settings.
  6. University of California, Berkeley will develop a more complete understanding of the intersection between the opioid epidemic and labor market outcomes, and examine the role of economic policies designed to raise incomes for low income Americans as potential strategies to address this public health crisis.