Matt Austin, Ph.D., is an assistant professor with the Armstrong Institute who believes in the potential of health care performance metrics to drive more informed decisions by patients, health care professionals and policymakers.
The world of measuring patient safety, quality and value in health care is still a Wild West, with government agencies, health plans, nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies using different metrics, ratings and rankings. These measures frequently contradict each other, and their scientific validity varies widely.
Using his background in analytics — he received a doctorate in industrial and systems engineering — Austin seeks to make the best use of existing measures while advancing better ones. Nationally, he provides scientific and strategic guidance to The Leapfrog Group on its Hospital Safety Score, a composite measure of patient safety, as well as its annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which compares hospital performance on national measures of safety, quality and efficiency. He advocates for greater standardization and transparency of measures at the national level — bringing the same kind of uniformity to health care performance measures that corporations must follow when reporting their financial performance.
Within Johns Hopkins Medicine, Austin guides development of internal and external safety and quality dashboards that help employees understand how their units, departments or hospitals are performing, and is co-leading efforts to identify possible disparities in the quality and safety of care delivered to various subgroups of patients.