New faculty member Agnes Grudniewicz brings outstanding research expertise related to one of the health system’s core challenges: care delivery for complex patients.
“Many individuals manage their chronic conditions well, but some patients are considered complex due to factors such as multi-morbidity, high service use and psychosocial vulnerability,” explained Grudniewicz, an Assistant Professor of Health Management and Analytics. At that level of complexity, health systems that are mostly organized by disease become less well-suited to their needs. “So finding solutions to the problem of patient complexity becomes an increasingly pressing concern at both a systems and healthcare provider level.”
One of her principal studies is to analyze a segment of the provincial integrated care initiative known as Health Links, which is designed to improve care for the top 5% high cost users of the healthcare system. Working with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Health System Performance Research Network, Grudniewicz and her team examine how organizational and network-level factors influence the implementation of integrated care. “By identifying the factors that are key to the success of Health Links, whether that might be infrastructure, culture, partnerships, or some other factor, resources can be better allocated to support the implementation of integrated care initiatives.”
Grudniewicz graduated from the Telfer School at the top of her class in 2009 with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in Finance. She then went on to complete a PhD in health services research with a specialization in outcomes and evaluation at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto. She was most recently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute and the Health System Performance Research Network. While still a young researcher, she has received numerous national and provincial grants and awards totalling $200,000 in competitive funding.
“Improving care of complex patients presents a challenging frontier, but the best health systems research has the potential to guide management on what can be fixed at an organizational or network level,” says Grudniewicz. “These improvements have the potential to reduce costs, inappropriate system utilization, and provider burnout while improving the care and quality of life of complex patients and caregivers.”