Faculty Profile: Julia Adler-Milstein

Research interests

Julia’s research focuses on policy and management issues related to the use of IT in healthcare delivery.  She examines three areas: the progress of health IT adoption; the impact of such adoption on healthcare costs; and the relationship between organizational structure and health IT use. 

Her work on health IT adoption focuses on health information exchange (HIE).  She has conducted three national surveys of health information organizations to track progress over time as well as elucidate barriers to their success. Currently, she is working on a grant funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT within the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate the State HIE Cooperative Agreement Program.  The project will identify successful state-based approaches to fostering HIE.

Julia’s second area of work seeks to understand whether adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) in physician practices reduces healthcare costs.  Her current project assesses whether patients in three Massachusetts communities that comprised one of the nation’s largest EHR pilots had lower costs compared to patients in control communities. This study is among the first large-scale assessments of whether EHRs facilitate cost savings. 

She is also conducting work to better understand how organizational factors complement EHR use.  This line of work was motivated by findings from other industries that IT has a substantially greater impact when combined with a set of complementary organizational changes.  She seeks to identify the changes relevant to health care and determine whether they explain variation in performance improvement following EHR adoption.

Julia Adler-Milstein is an assistant professor at the School of Information and holds a joint appointment with the department of health management and policy in the School of Public Health. She recently graduated with a PhD in health policy from Harvard University and earned the Outstanding Dissertation Award from AcademyHealth, the leading professional organization for health service researchers.  Prior to graduate school, she worked at the Center for IT Leadership at Partners Healthcare in Boston and in the Health and Life Sciences Division of Accenture. She joined the UMSI faculty in September 2011.