Emmett B. Keeler

Photo of Emmett Keeler
Senior Mathematician; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in mathematics, Harvard University


Emmett Keeler is a senior mathematician at RAND, a professor at UCLA Public Health School and at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He has conducted technical analyses for studies evaluating quality improvement interventions, insurance design, cost-effectiveness, and quality-of-care statistics.

In the RAND Health Insurance Experiment, Keeler assessed the effects of alternative insurance plans on physiological health and developed the episode-of-treatment approach to analyze use. He also led the analysis of physiological outcomes for that study. Keeler was the lead technical analyst in the Prospective Payment System Quality of Care evaluation, addressing ways to risk-adjust outcomes and investigating the relationship between explicit, implicit, and outcome-based measures of hospital quality.

His recent projects include an investigation of the cost-effectiveness of lung cancer screening and making the business case in quality improvement. Three of his over 160 published papers have been selected as the article of their respective years by the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy and won their Distinguished Investigator Award. Keeler is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Keeler received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Professor, UCLA

Recent Projects

  • Improving the functional status and independence of older Americans
  • How HMOs should be paid to improve incentives
  • Evaluation of an intervention to improve chronic illness care.
  • Cost effectiveness of lung cancer screening

Selected Publications

W.C. Black et al., "Cost-Effectiveness of CT Screening in the National Lung Screening Trial," New Eng J Medicine, 2014

T.G.K. Bentley at al., "Waste in the US Health Care System: A Conceptual Model," Milbank Quarterly, 2008

G. Melnick, E. Keeler, "The effects of Multi-Hospital Systems on Hospital Prices," J Health Economics, 2007

G. F. Joyce et al., "The Lifetime Burden of Chronic Disease Among the Elderly," Health Affairs, 2005

Honors & Awards

  • Member National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences


  • A doctor with a patient preparing for a computerized tomography (CT) scan

    Knowing When to Say Yes to Medical Technology

    CT lung cancer screening turns out to be like many new medical technologies: It improves health but is quite expensive. Moreover, it needs implementation that targets those most likely to benefit and provides them the care they need efficiently.

    Nov 18, 2014 The Health Care Blog