Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD

Lab Director

Associate Professor

School of Information 

School of Public Health (Health Management and Policy)

Julia Adler-Milstein is an associate professor at the School of Information and holds a joint appointment with the Department of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health. She holds a Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard University and earned the Outstanding Dissertation Award from AcademyHealth, the leading professional organization for health service researchers. Prior to graduate school, she worked at the Center for IT Leadership at Partners Healthcare in Boston and in the Health and Life Sciences Division of Accenture. She joined the SI faculty in September 2011.

Adler-Milstein's research focuses on policy and management issues related to the use of IT in healthcare delivery. She examines three areas: the progress of health IT adoption; the impact of such adoption on healthcare costs and quality; and the relationship between organizational structure and health IT use.

Her work on health IT adoption focuses on health information exchange (HIE). She has conducted four national surveys of health information organizations to track progress over time as well as elucidate barriers to their success. Currently, she is working on a grant funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT within the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate the State HIE Cooperative Agreement Program. The project will identify successful state-based approaches to fostering HIE. She is also the principle investigator on an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) grant assessing primary care practice readiness for proposed Stage 3 Meaningful Use criteria related to care coordination and HIE.

Adler-Milstein's second area of work seeks to understand whether adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) reduces healthcare costs. She led a five-year project to assess whether patients in three Massachusetts communities that comprised one of the nation’s largest EHR pilots had lower costs compared to patients in control communities. This study is among the first large-scale assessments of whether EHRs facilitate cost savings. Her more recent work examines the impact of hospital EHR adoption on the cost of care.

She is also conducting work to better understand how organizational factors complement EHR use. This line of work was motivated by findings from other industries that IT has a substantially greater impact when combined with a set of complementary organizational changes. She examines the changes relevant to health care and determines whether they explain variation in performance improvement following EHR adoption.

A research brief describing Adler-Milstein's HIE work can be found here.

A list of Adler-Milstein's recent publications can be found via Google Scholar.