Karen E. Joynt Maddox, M.D. joined the Department of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Social Work on July 1, 2017.
Dr. Joynt Maddox is a health services and health policy researcher focused on improving the way quality in healthcare is measured and rewarded. She thinks of her research in three major themes. First, improving the measurement of the quality and efficiency of physicians, hospitals and health systems: She aims to help improve the “science” of quality measurement. The ability to measure whether hospitals or clinicians are providing high-quality care is not as precise as it needs to be as we move increasingly to an era of value-based care. Second, understanding the impact of policy interventions on health care, with a focus on value-based and alternative payment models: She aims to determine whether policy interventions that reward quality either financially or otherwise, such as value-based payment programs or alternative payment models, are ultimately associated with better patient outcomes. There is a great deal of hope that these methods will yield improvements in care, but empirical evidence is currently lacking on whether that is truly the case. Third, reducing disparities in care, with a focus on vulnerable populations including racial and ethnic minorities, individuals living in poverty, individuals with disabilities, frail elders, and those in rural areas: She wants to evaluate whether policy interventions help or harm vulnerable populations, who tend to have worse health, worse health outcomes, and higher care needs. These high-risk groups may benefit from programs that create new financial incentives if they cause clinicians to better focus on meeting their needs, but financial incentives could also have unintended consequences such as reducing access to care for high-risk populations or financially penalizing the providers that disproportionately care for them.
Dr. Joynt Maddox has authored over 90 peer-reviewed publications, and received multiple grants focused on issues in health policy. She serves as the Associate Editor for health policy at the Journal of the American Medical Association, and is a member of committees related to quality, policy, and disparities at the National Quality Forum, American College of Cardiology, and American Heart Association. She served from 2014-2016 as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation in the Office of Health Policy, United States Department of Health and Human Services. She is also currently a health policy advisor for BJC Healthcare, and in this capacity works with system leadership on issues related to quality, safety, and disparities as they relate to the national policy landscape.
Clinically, she rounds on the general cardiology inpatient service and the cardiology consult service at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Her teaching responsibilities are largely related to clinical teaching during rotations, and in the past she has also lectured in health economics and health policy courses.