LEBANON, N.H. – The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth has named Elliott S. Fisher, MD, MPH, as the Director of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. An internationally recognized leader in health services research and health policy, Dr. Fisher is currently the Director for Population Health and Policy at The Dartmouth Institute, as well as the James W. Squires Professor of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine. He is also Co-Director of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care.
Since its founding by John Wennberg in 1988, the faculty of The Dartmouth Institute has led the nation in exploring the causes and consequences of unwarranted variations in practice and spending – and in developing policy approaches to addressing them, ranging from shared decision-making to accountable care organizations.
"Dr. Fisher's work has had tremendous influence on health care policy in this country," said Dartmouth President Carol L. Folt. "Under his direction, The Dartmouth Institute will continue to be a leader in improving health care delivery and the development of a sustainable health care system."
Wiley W. Souba, MD, ScD, MBA, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine, said, “I’m pleased that Elliott has agreed to take on this important role. He is one of the top thinkers in health care delivery science and health policy. Under Dr. Fisher’s leadership, the faculty will continue to tackle of the most important and vexing social problems confronting developed and developing countries. We look forward to continued growth and investment in the coming years.”
“It is an important moment in health care,” Dr. Fisher said. “Rising health care costs are now recognized as the major threat not only to federal, state and local budgets, but also to personal incomes. We know that much of that spending is wasted on high administrative costs, exorbitant prices and avoidable discretionary services. Emerging models of payment and care delivery offer the promise of both better care and lower costs.”
Dr. Fisher’s early research focused on exploring the causes of the two-fold differences in spending observed across U.S. regions and on understanding the implications of these variations for health and health care.
“Dr. Fisher's seminal papers, showing that higher spending regions of the United States did not provide better quality or achieve better outcomes, constitute perhaps the most important health care research of the past several decades,” Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, former administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said. “He has fundamentally changed thinking, in the U.S. and around the world, about the immense opportunities we have to improve health care while lowering costs. Patients, communities and nations are the beneficiaries of his intellectual leadership and energy.”
More recently, Dr. Fisher has broadened his focus beyond research to the challenge of translating these insights into health policy. He is credited, along with former CMS administrator Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, for creating the concept of accountable care organizations, a new payment and delivery model aimed at holding physicians and hospitals accountable for the cost and quality of care they provide.
“Dartmouth’s research has had a tremendous impact on our understanding of health care and on the policies that are now fostering needed reforms in how health care works,” Dr. McClellan, now Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution, said. “It’s been a privilege to work with Dr. Fisher on some of these ideas, particularly accountable care. Under his leadership, I expect much more to come at The Dartmouth Institute at a time when its research and educational programs are more needed than ever.”
Dr. Fisher’s current work focuses on exploring the determinants of successful ACO formation and performance, as well as understanding how to catalyze successful local health system transformation.
John Wennberg, MD, MPH, the founder of both the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and The Dartmouth Institute, welcomed Dr. Fisher’s appointment.
“I am confident that the future of TDI is in good hands,” Dr. Wennberg said. “My colleague Elliott Fisher will continue the TDI tradition of asking the tough questions about the U.S. health care system – and provide leadership in finding solutions to reduce waste and unwarranted variations in practice.”
Dr. Fisher received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University and completed his internal medicine residency and public health training at the University of Washington. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI) was founded in 1988 by Dr. John E. Wennberg as the Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences (CECS). Among its 25 years of accomplishments, it has established a new discipline and educational focus in the Evaluative Clinical Sciences, introduced and advanced the concept of shared decision-making for patients, demonstrated unwarranted variation in the practice and outcomes of medical treatment, developed the first comprehensive examination of U.S. health care variations (The Dartmouth Atlas), and shown that more health care is not necessarily better care.
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, founded in 1797, strives to improve the lives of the communities it serves through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. The nation's fourth-oldest medical school, the Geisel School of Medicine has been home to many firsts in medical education, research and practice, including the discovery of the mechanism for how light resets biological clocks, creating the first multispecialty intensive care unit, the first comprehensive examination of U.S. health care variations (The Dartmouth Atlas), and helping establish the first Center for Health Care Delivery Science, which launched in 2010. As one of America's top medical schools, Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine is committed to training new generations of diverse health care leaders who will help solve our most vexing challenges in health care.View Dr. Fisher's Message to the Community