RAND Center of Excellence on Health System Performance

Diverse group of doctors having a discussion around a table, photo by AJ_Watt/Getty Images

The RAND Center of Excellence on Health System Performance is focused on identifying, classifying, tracking and comparing health systems in today's rapidly changing health care market. We do this to pinpoint the attributes that promote rapid implementation of evidence-based medicine into routine medical practice — in order to improve quality, lower costs, and create better outcomes for patients.

What We Do

Who We Are

Cheryl Damberg, Ph.D.

Cheryl Damberg, Ph.D.

Senior principal researcher at the RAND Corporation and the RAND Distinguished Chair in Payment Policy

Cheryl Damberg is the Center's principal investigator and also leads the Center's study of the use of incentives to drive health system and provider behavior. For more than 20 years she has been conducting research related to performance measurement, scoring providers and health plans on quality and cost measures, and applying performance results in high stakes applications such as value-based purchasing and public reporting/public accountability. Her primary focus has been evaluating the use of incentives to drive improvements in the delivery of evidence-based practices (codified in performance measures), better patient experience, and lower costs of care.

Selected Publications

  • "How Are Medical Groups Identified as High Performing? The Effect of Different Approaches to Classification of Performance"
  • "Primary Care Spending in the Fee-for-Service Medicare Population"
  • "Are Value-Based Incentives Driving Behavior Change to Improve Value?"
M. Susan Ridgely, J.D.

M. Susan Ridgely, J.D.

Senior health policy researcher at the RAND Corporation

M. Susan Ridgely is a senior health policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and the Center’s Project Director. In addition to administrative activities, she contributes methodological and substantive expertise to all of the Center's projects, with special attention to development and implementation of qualitative research methods and is responsible for the development of the Center’s taxonomy of health systems. A seasoned principal investigator and project director, she has managed numerous grants and contracts on behalf of government agencies, foundations, and private sector clients. For the past 30 years she has conducted research on innovations in health care finance and delivery, health information technology, patient safety, and medical liability. She specializes in the design and management of large, mixed method, multi-site evaluations. An attorney by training, she has also published legal and policy analyses on health care issues as diverse as health privacy, patient identity establishment, and medical liability.

Selected Publications

  • "What Are the Determinants of Health System Performance? Findings from the Literature and a Technical Expert Panel"
  • "Understanding U.S. Health Systems: Using Mixed Methods to Unpack Organizational Complexity"
  • "Are Value-Based Incentives Driving Behavior Change to Improve Value?"
Rachel Reid, M.D.

Rachel Reid, M.D.

Physician Policy Researcher

A health services researcher and practicing general internist, Reid's research focuses on measuring cost, quality, and value in health care. She has particular interest in the primary care delivery system, public reporting efforts, and delivery and payment system reform. Of particular relevance to the Center’s mission is her work on the share of medical spending devoted to primary care, and assessments of professional satisfaction, work environment, and practice culture in federally qualified health center sites in the context of new legislative and regulatory activity.

Selected Publications

  • "Primary Care Spending in the Fee-for-Service Medicare Population"
  • "Low-value Health Care Services in a Commercially Insured Population"
  • "Retail Clinic Visits for Low-Acuity Conditions Increase Utilization and Spending"
Justin W. Timbie, Ph.D.

Justin W. Timbie, Ph.D.

Senior Health Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation

Justin Timbie is a senior health policy researcher whose research focuses on evaluations of health care payment and delivery innovations, methods for measuring the performance of health care providers, and health policy issues involving safety net settings—particularly federally qualified health centers. Timbie has led evaluations of delivery system models such as patient-centered medical home initiatives, global payment programs, health information technology pilots, and distributed research networks.

Selected Publications

  • "Federally Qualified Health Center Strategies for Integrating Care with Hospitals and Their Association with Measures of Communication"
  • "Specialty Care Access for Medicaid Enrollees in Expansion States"
  • "Implementation of Medical Homes in Federally Qualified Health Centers"