Dr. Halpern’s research combines empirical approaches from the fields of epidemiology, health services research, and the decision-making sciences with conceptual work grounded in moral philosophy. He applies these approaches across three fields.
First, he examines the allocation of scarce healthcare resources including ICU beds and services and solid-organ transplants. In this regard, he seeks to understand how tradeoffs are made when the interests of individuals conflict with the interests of groups, and how these tradeoffs could be made more efficiently, equitably, and transparently. Second, he examines the use of behavioral economic approaches, including framing effects, default options, and financial incentives, to improve patients’ and providers’ decisions, particularly those related to end-of-life care. Third, he seeks to improve the ethics and efficiency of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) by examining the intended and unintended consequences of incentives for research participation, and by developing new patient-centered outcome measures and methods for analyzing them.
Dr. Halpern’s research is supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American Thoracic Society, and by a Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholar Award in Bioethics. He is the Founding Director of the Fostering Improvement in End-of-Life Decision Science (FIELDS) program, and Deputy Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE), both housed within the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at Penn.
2012. "Shaping end-of-life care: Behavioral economics and advance directives." Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 33:393-400.
2012. "Rationing in the ICU: To disclose or disguise?" Critical Care Medicine, 40: 261-266.
2011. "Shaping patients’ decisions." Chest, 139: 424-429.
2011. "Informed Consent in Research to Improve the Number and Quality of Deceased-Donor Organs." Critical Care Medicine, 39: 280-3.
2010. "Regulated payments for living kidney donation: An empirical assessment of the ethical concerns." Annals of Internal Medicine, 152: 358-65.
2008. "Informing candidates for solid-organ transplantation about donor risk factors." New England Journal of Medicine, 358:2832-2837.
2007. "Harnessing the power of default options to improve healthcare." New England Journal of Medicine, 357:1340-44.
2006. "Terminal withdrawal of life-sustaining supplemental oxygen." JAMA, 296:1397-1400.
2005. "Towards evidence based bioethics." BMJ, 331:901-3.
2004. "Empirical assessment of whether moderate payments are undue or unjust inducements for participation in clinical trials." Archives of Internal Medicine, 164:801-3.
2002. "The continuing unethical conduct of underpowered clinical trials." JAMA, 288:358-62.
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