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Battelle Applied Genomics Today

Battelle Health & Analytics Newsletter

Featured Expert: Jeffrey Geppert: Senior Research Leader

Jeffrey Geppert Jeff Geppert

Jeffrey Geppert believes in the power of analytics to make a difference in the world. “Patient safety is still a huge problem in this country,” he explains, “but if we can measure it—if we put hard numbers on adverse events—we can start to get a handle on it and ultimately change it.” 

As a Senior Research Leader on the Battelle Health and Consumer Solutions team, Jeffrey is working to make that goal a reality. He heads up Battelle’s work on hospital and physician quality measures for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In this role, he leads the team responsible for maintaining the CMS measure inventory and the blueprint that defines the processes and decision criteria that are used to develop new quality measures. In addition, Jeffrey and his team use analytical engines to scan hundreds of thousands of updates and articles posted in the biomedical literature each month. Using a tool such as Battelle Sematrix™, they are able to analyze very large data sets to find meaningful information that could potentially impact CMS measure development.

The CMS quality measures are a critical driver in reducing medical mistakes and adverse events in hospitals. A CMS study reported that 13.5% of Medicare and Medicaid patients experienced an adverse event during a hospital stay in 2010, and another 13.5% experienced events causing temporary harm. The study concluded that 44% of these events were clearly or likely preventable. In addition to the harm caused to patients, these events are expensive, costing CMS an estimated $4.4 billion annually. The CMS measures that Jeffrey and his team are helping to develop and maintain are used to provide an objective measure of hospital quality, assist CMS in making reimbursement and value-based purchasing decisions, and inform data-driven quality improvement initiatives for individual hospitals and hospital systems. There is growing evidence that these efforts are working; the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has reported a significant reduction in adverse events since the measures were implemented, as measured by CMS claims data. 

Jeffrey has devoted a large part of his career to developing tools that can help hospitals quantify, understand and reduce adverse events. He recently served as Project Director of the Support for Quality Indicators (SQI) project, which develops software that health professionals can apply to their own hospital discharge data. Jeffrey’s team provides technical support to users, annual updates to indicator specifications, data security services and software and documentation maintenance. Jeffrey has also been instrumental in the development of the Battelle WayFinder™ QI Dashboard, a cloud-based quality improvement analytics tool that helps hospitals monitor performance, analyze trends and identify areas for improvement.

In prior roles at Battelle, Jeffrey was responsible for empirical testing and software development on a project that resulted in the development of the QI (Quality Indicator) modules for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). He has served as a technical consultant for implementation of the AHRQ measures for several states and agencies, including the Departments of Health for Utah and four other Western states, the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Healthcare Information Council. Ten years ago, Jeffrey developed a method for calculating a composite score for hospital quality that is still in wide use today. “My work on hospital quality measures is the single thing that I have done that has the biggest impact on the world,” he says. “Hundreds of thousands of people still die each year due to preventable medical errors. Medical errors and adverse events are also huge cost drivers for the industry. I want to continue to work on projects that can make a difference for individual people and for the system as a whole."

Jeffrey brings 24 years of analytics experience to his role, including 22 years focused on health services. Prior to joining Battelle in 2004, he worked as a senior research analyst with the Health Care Economics Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research and Center for Health Policy at Stanford University. Jeffrey holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Masters of Education from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Lawrence University.