Boston, MA

Associate Professor, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute

Represented: Researchers
Former Panel Co-Chair

Dr. James Wharam is Director of the Division of Health Policy & Insurance Research at the Harvard Medical School Department of Population Medicine. A large body of Dr. Wharam’s work, funded by NIDDK, CDC, PCORI, and NCI, has examined effects of high-deductible health plans (HDHP) on healthcare quality, costs, and disparities. Overall, his studies suggest that modern HDHPs might preserve healthcare quality for most members but that vulnerable populations are at risk of adverse outcomes. Dr. Wharam’s HDHP studies and commentaries have been featured in journals such as JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Health Affairs. His editorials have recommended policy approaches for ensuring equity and high-quality care among HDHP populations. Dr. Wharam has over a decade of experience using health insurance claims data to generate rigorous retrospective quasi-experimental studies. He has pioneered the use of retrospective study designs that approximate effect estimates of randomized controlled trials and minimize selection bias, a major threat to validity in health insurance studies. Other innovations include creating and validating novel health measures within claims data, and developing an interrupted time series analytic approach that generates readily intuitive effect estimates. As a clinician and through experience with PCORI-funded projects, Dr. Wharam is acutely aware of the value of including patient input throughout the research process.

Wharam previously served as a member of the Advisory Panel on Improving Healthcare Systems, and a member and co-chair of the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Delivery and Disparities Research, from August 2017 to August 2020.

Conflicts of Interest

As of February 14, 2018

  • None reported


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