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Spotlight On: Abt’s Quantitative Research Methods

Spotlight On: Abt’s Quantitative Research Methods

Abt specializes in research using cutting-edge quantitative methods, employing diverse methodologies for solutions for program evaluation (including both randomized control trials and quasi-experiments), systematic evidence reviews, key performance indicators, health economic analysis, and more. Our experts produce insightful analyses that support evidence-based decision making across sectors. From policy analysis to program assessment, our techniques and researchers uncover and analyze data that help our partners build resilient, sustainable, and fair policies and programs.


capabilities

Capabilities

Abt’s quantitative research capabilities span the entire project life cycle. We are recognized as experts in quantitative study planning and design, from administrative data processing to complex randomized trials. We execute our analyses using current standards to project management within an Agile framework and use both the standard and emerging tools available. We have capabilities in making analysis tools to automate insights for our clients and can produce macros and custom tools for commonly used statistical software.


Evaluating CMS’s InCK Model for Kids with Complex Health Needs

Relevant Experience 
 

Evaluating CMS’s InCK Model for Kids with Complex Health Needs  
Client: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Can new service delivery and payment models provide better care for children covered by Medicaid and CHIP? CMS contracted Abt to evaluate their Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) payment and delivery model, which was designed to better integrate service delivery across behavioral health, physical health, and other health-related services for children.

Using a mixed methods evaluation design, Abt employs both qualitative and quantitative techniques tailored to different locales to capture information about the model’s implementation and provider, staff, child, and beneficiary experiences. Quasi-experimental designs assess the impacts of the InCK model on quality of care, healthcare utilization, and out-of-home placements among children within participating communities and explore how model variations affect impacts.


Replication of Recovery and Reunification Interventions for Families-Impact Study (R3-Impact)

Replication of Recovery and Reunification Interventions for Families-Impact Study (R3-Impact) 
Client: The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

In the last 20 years, parental substance use disorder (SUD) has become an increasingly prevalent reason for children to enter foster care. Peer recovery coaching is a promising strategy to support parents’ recovery and help keep families safe and together when possible. Abt is evaluating two programs that use peer recovery coaches who also have lived experience as a parent in the child welfare system.

The impact evaluation of the Parent Mentor Program is a multi-site, longitudinal randomized controlled trial. It will measure the effect of the program on parent well-being and family functioning using survey data, along with prevention of foster care entry and child safety using child welfare administrative data.

The impact evaluation of Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (START) is a multi-site synthesis of four quasi-experimental evaluations. It will measure the effect of the program on prevention of foster care entry and child safety using child welfare administrative data.

Both impact evaluations have an accompanying implementation evaluation, which will use mixed methods to assess program fidelity, implementation facilitators and barriers, replicability, and other factors that may impact program effectiveness and future scaling efforts.


Collecting Infectious Disease Data in Nursing Homes

Collecting Infectious Disease Data in Nursing Homes 
Client: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Infectious diseases can spread quickly through nursing homes, leading to high morbidity and mortality in this vulnerable population. Though data are needed to inform policy and procedures for public health risks, conducting public health research and surveillance in the nursing home setting can be challenging due to legal and regulatory issues, mistrust of investigators, and competing priorities.

Under a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Abt established the Nursing Home Public Health Response Network (NH PHRN) to conduct multiple concurrent studies and public health surveillance in rapid response to urgent public health priorities. Abt uses proven quantitative data collection processes and procedures to manage the network and coordinate the multi-site studies. Six studies are currently underway:

  1. Respiratory pathogen surveillance;
  2. Examining the viral kinetics and long-term test positivity of SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and RSV,
  3. Gathering key physical and operational data on nursing homes in the network;
  4. Survey on nursing home resident knowledge and practices pertaining to their hand hygiene as well as overall hygiene practices
  5. Survey examining the prevalence of perceived workplace resilience among nursing home staff, and assessing its relationship with risk factors and associated harm including nursing home staff turnover; and
  6. Describing nursing home staff place of residence and how it relates to the location(s) of the nursing home(s) in which they work.

The Abt team generates weekly analytic datasets and updates dashboards to keep CDC and partner sites apprised of study progress and provides data for ongoing analyses. Data from the project has already been used to inform CDC’s revised respiratory virus guidance that was released in March 2024.


Abt Team To Help CMS Determine Quality Standards for Home and Hospice Care

Abt Team To Help CMS Determine Quality Standards for Home and Hospice Care 
Client: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Millions of Americans rely on home health care after an injury or illness and on hospice care for end-of-life support, paid for by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). To ensure that home health and hospice providers deliver high-quality care, CMS has contracted with Abt to help determine standards through the Home Health (HH) and Hospice quality reporting programs (QRP) and national implementation of the Home Health Value Based Purchasing (HHVBP) model.

For Home Health QRP (HHQRP), Abt Assists CMS in developing and reporting measures capturing the quality of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries in the home health setting. The Abt Team uses Original Medicare (Parts A and B) claims data, Medicare Advantage (MA) encounters data, Medicaid claims data, and home health clinical assessment data to develop quality measures and report quality of care on a rapid-cycle basis. For example, the Abt Team is using claims, encounters, and assessment data sources to identify falls leading to a major injury occurring during or immediately following a home health episode.

Abt also supports CMS in implementing the HHVBP Model, under which HHAs receive adjustments to their Medicare fee-for-service payments based on their performance against a set of quality measures. With the national expansion of the HHVBP model, Abt is now producing quarterly and annual performance reports for all home health agencies nationally. These reports provide feedback to HHAs about their performance relative to measure achievement thresholds and benchmarks, providing HHAs ongoing opportunities to track their performance relatives to peers in their cohort. One goal of HHVBP is to study new potential quality measures for their appropriateness in the home health setting, and Abt supports CMS in developing refinements to the HHVBP Model.


CDC / CFA Demographic Social Comorbidities Table (DSCT)

CDC / CFA Demographic Social Comorbidities Table (DSCT)  
Client: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The COVID-19 pandemic made it abundantly clear that the nation’s ability to identify and respond to outbreaks fundamentally relies on access to high-quality and timely data for disease surveillance—especially data about vulnerable populations at state and local levels. CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA) contracted Abt and our partner, HealthVerity, to provide data that federal, state, and local governments as well as other organizations can use to target interventions and countermeasures in the event of a public health emergency.

Abt combines novel health care claims data across public and private insurance sources with existing government data and advanced statistical methods to create user-friendly data products to support CDC and other stakeholder in planning and responding to public health emergencies. These products capture key health information across tens of millions of Americans and is unique as this combined information provides new insights on co-occurring conditions. The end result gives users the ability to determine how many people have multiple conditions with breakouts across different geographies and at the intersection of key demographics such as gender and age. Previously, we studied these health conditions one at a time (e.g. diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cancer) but this new work will allow for groups to understand how many people are suffering multiple conditions at the same time as well as know basic information on who is very sick and where they live across the entire US population.


Contact Us

Jessica Walker, Ph.D.

Jessica Walker, Ph.D.

Science and Research Senior Director, Quantitative Methods
Eric Hedber, Ph.D.

Eric Hedberg, Ph.D.

Principal Associate, Quantitative Methods

Learn more about our Qualitative Research and Monitoring work

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