Healthcare in this United States is a lightning rod for debate. As Congress grapples with the future of the Affordable Care Act, the American people face uncertainty in medical care and costs.

To improve the efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness for patient care, hospitals have increasingly turned digital, using Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems to store and share patient’s medical history. However, as the use of EMR systems increased, so did reported healthcare costs.

Since the adoption of the physician coding systems used to store and update EMRs in 2009, Medicare has experienced an estimated $380 million increase in reimbursements per year. Medicare accused hospitals of “upcoding,” or illegally overstating patients’ diagnoses and treatment, in an effort to receive a higher reimbursement. A 2012 study showed that hospitals in Utica, NY, and Nashville, TN, increased its patient reimbursement claims by 43% and 82% respectively after adopting EMR systems.

In response to this drastic surge in reimbursements, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conducted a pilot program, the Recovery Audit Program, from 2004 to 2010. Researchers at the Fox School partnered with researchers at McGill University to study how this audit program has been able to reduce illegal Medicare reimbursement claims, thus lessening the financial burden on American taxpayers.

Hilal Atasoy

The initial goal of implementing EMRs was to lower costs by reducing medical errors, over-testing, and re-admissions. But the findings of Dr. Kartik K. Ganju of McGill and Drs. Hilal Atasoy and Paul Pavlou of Temple University, confirmed that the adoption of the coding system is associated with an increase in Medicare reimbursements, particularly in the case of for-profit hospitals.

The research found an average of $217,745 in inflated reimbursements to Medicare per hospital per year, and even higher costs (nearly $370,000 in overages) at for-profit hospitals. After finding $693 million in overpayments by Medicare in six pilot states, the audit program was adopted nationwide in 2010.

The researchers looked into this “trillion-dollar conundrum” and found that the audit program successfully combated upcoding by using default templates and by identifying and removing cloned records of old patient that were erroneously copied into a new patient’s medical chart. After the audit became nationwide, the study found that it had corrected up to $2 billion in incorrect claims; yet for-profit hospitals were still reporting high reimbursement fees than their nonprofit counterparts.

The bottom line? While EMRs have enhanced coordination and information sharing, they also make it easier to report expensive and potentially inappropriate healthcare expenses.

As the first successful evaluation of the Recovery Audit Program, the researchers praise the work that has been done, but warn that stronger oversight by the government is still needed to combat ever-increasing costs, especially at for-profit hospitals.

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When looking for a restaurant, bakery, plumber, or lawyer, you’re likely to visit sites like Yelp or Angie’s List to help make a choice. In fact, recent research shows that 78 percent of consumers in the United States will read online reviews prior to making a purchase or decision. Meanwhile, businesses can use these review sites to interact more directly with their customers, through tools like new owner response features.

How does this online interaction translate into real-world performance? Dr. Subodha Kumar, professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School, conducted a study to find out.

Kumar examines the impact of the adoption of the business owner response feature within online review platforms in his paper, “Exit, Voice, and Response in Digital Platforms: An Empirical Investigation of Online Management Response Strategies,” which was accepted for publication in the Information Systems Research, an A-level journal.

Businesses that use the response features saw an increased number of mobile “check-ins” through sites like FourSquare and Facebook. Although the feature has been beneficial for businesses that use it, the key to consistent success resides in the need for companies to stay up-to-date with ways to connect with their consumers, both present and future.

“Overall, the new features supported through digital platforms will help businesses develop the right engagement strategy, improve consumer experience, and generate more reviews and consumer traffic, which will ultimately open more revenue generating opportunities for both the digital platforms and businesses,” said Kumar. This strategy will essentially drive higher website traffic and, if done well, enhance customer relations.

The study also found that use of the online response feature impacted the performance of nearby businesses. For example, in analyzing the performance of nearby restaurants in direct competition, businesses that directly engaged with customers online increased their number of check-ins, while businesses that did not use the features saw a decrease. This spillover effect suggests that businesses must be aware of how their neighbors and competitors are engaging with customers online in order to optimize their own digital strategies.

With the growth of mobile check-ins, social media, and online reviews, the research possibilities are evolving as well. “A future research direction is to examine which types of online management responses are more likely to attract consumers and enhance business performance,” said Kumar.

Dr. Subodha Kumar recently joined the Fox School. He will be a part of the Data Science Institute, an interdisciplinary body that connects multiple disciplinary perspectives to increase collaboration in the fields of computer science, math and statistics, and business knowledge.

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Photo of Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Dr. Angelika Dimoka and Dr. Vinod Venkatraman
Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Dr. Angelika Dimoka and Dr. Vinod Venkatraman.

Even in today’s digital age, a printed advertisement is more likely to stick with a consumer than its online counterpart.

Mixed-media marketing campaigns are much more likely to succeed when they incorporate a print medium, according to researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

Neuromarketing research by three Fox School professors explored which combination of digital and print media left the strongest imprint on the brain. A grant from the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General (USPS OIG) helped finance the study.

The laboratory component of their study asked participants to view the same combination of advertisements on two occasions over a two-week period. The study relied on traditional, self-reported measures and the recording of brain activity through a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner.

When test subjects submitted to self-reported measures, the researchers found that the participants who had seen advertisements in only one format (whether twice in print or twice in digital, as opposed to one of each) were best at recalling the ads and their content.

According to data procured from the fMRI portion of the study, there was evidence that the same format shown twice, particularly with the physical format, produced associations with higher memory. Lastly, greater activation in brain areas that have been associated with desirability or subjective value was found for products advertised twice in the physical format, denoting greater engagement of these regions in the computations of the underlying subjective value and desirability.

“The primary finding for us was that sequencing, the order in which a test subject saw the ads, does not seem to matter as much as the presence of a physical component,” said Dr. Angelika Dimoka, Associate Professor of Marketing and Management Information Systems. “Under these circumstances, we noticed a stronger activation of the memory center of the brain. This is known as the hippocampus, which is located in the medial temporal lobe.”

Dimoka completed the study with Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, the Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Marketing and Management Information Systems, and Dr. Vinod Venkatraman, Assistant Professor of Marketing. Dimoka and Venkatraman serve as Director and Associate Director, respectively, of Temple’s Center for Neural Decision Making.

The research team’s findings complemented their May 2015 study. This previous study, also commissioned by the USPS OIG, sought a better understanding of consumer decision making through human response to physical, printed media and its digital counterpart. (In that study, printed ads generated a greater neural response than did digital ads.)

“Our newer study differed, in that we examined whether sequencing would play a role,” said Pavlou, who also serves as the Fox School’s Senior Associate Dean of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives. “In the end, it did not matter whether a physical ad was viewed before or after a digital ad had been viewed, so long as a physical ad was included somewhere within the combination.”

Photo of the stock ticker in Alter Hall.
02_18_09 .Fox School of Buisness and Management.Alter Hall.

Faculty at Temple University’s Fox School of Business are among the most-frequently published researchers in the world, according to a recent ranking.

The University of Texas-Dallas Top 100 Business School Research Rankings placed researchers from the Fox School at No. 50 worldwide, No. 42 in North America, and No. 39 among U.S. schools for a four-year cycle, from 2012-2016.

UT-Dallas, which in March unveiled its latest rankings, has tracked research contributions to the 24 leading business journals across all disciplines since 1990.

“It’s an honor to learn that our faculty are among the leaders in making research contributions to the world’s top business journals,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School. “New, cutting-edge research is at the core of top-notch business education, and our faculty are leading the way in this area.”

“At Fox, our goal is to enhance the contributions and impact of Fox faculty in the world and in the classroom through cutting-edge research,” added Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Senior Associate Dean of Fox’s Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives. “UT-Dallas’ latest rankings demonstrate our commitment to promoting research and building a culture rooted in research that can inform our programs, industry, and society.”

Dr. Xueming Luo
Dr. Xueming Luo

A professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been named one of the most-productive authors in marketing research in the world.

Dr. Xueming Luo is recognized in two separate lists within the American Marketing Association (AMA) 2016 Marketing Research Productivity lists. He ranks No. 11 globally for research publications in the two premier journals – the Journal of Marketing (JM) and the Journal of Marketing Research (JMR). Also, he ranks No. 28 in the world for publications to the four premier marketing journals – JM, JMR, the Journal of Consumer Research, and Marketing Science.

Published in January 2017, the AMA lists acknowledge the top individual contributors to the world’s premier marketing journals over a 10-year period, from 2007-2016.

“I am humbled and honored to have been recognized by the American Marketing Association,” said Luo, the Charles Gilliland Distinguished Chair Professor of Marketing. “These four premier journals together are the most influential and hold the highest standards in the entire marketing discipline, and across all streams of research in consumer behavior and quantitative marketing.”

Luo’s research centers on mobile consumer analytics; big data marketing strategies; and social media, marketing models with machine learning, and networks. He serves as founder and director of the Fox School’s Global Center on Big Data and Mobile Analytics, a leading center in the cross-disciplinary domain of big data for business strategies and consumer insights.

He previously has been ranked No. 1 nationally among preeminent scholars in his discipline regarding citations in the top-five marketing journals, from 2006-2010. And from 2011-2015, he ranked among the 20 most-productive authors of research in Premier AMA journals.

Five of the Fox School’s nine academic departments are nationally ranked for overall research productivity. In the 2015-16 academic year, Fox faculty published more than 40 A journal publications, secured more than $5 million in grant funding, and increased new grant funding by nearly $1 million.

When it comes to reducing instances of lethal force exhibited by police, a recent study suggests that wearable video cameras might not be the solution.

Researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found that the use of analytics and smartphones to access intelligence, like criminal history reports, reduced instances of lethal force by police, while wearable video cameras were linked to increases in shooting deaths of civilians by police.

Paul Pavlou
Paul Pavlou
Min-Seok Pang
Min-Seok Pang

Dr. Min-Seok Pang and Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, from the Fox School of Business, utilized data from a comprehensive report by the Washington Post, to investigate how technology affects police performance and practice. The newspaper’s 2015 database compiled information from the 986 deadly shootings of civilians by police nationwide in 2015, from published news reports, public records, Internet databases, and original reporting.

Their study, titled “Armed with Technology: The Effects on Fatal Shootings of Civilians by the Police,” found that the use of body cameras by police led to a 3.64-percent increase in shooting deaths of civilians by police. Notably, body cameras produced a 3.75-percent increase in the shooting deaths of African Americans and Hispanics, but only a 0.67-percent increase in the deaths of Caucasians and Asians.

Meanwhile, instances of fatal shootings dropped by 2.5 percent when police departments conducted statistical analyses of digitized crime data or had real-time access to data via smartphones and information about a person of interest, the researchers found.

“Our findings suggest that body cameras generate less reluctance for police officers to use lethal force, because the wearable body cameras provide evidence that may justify the shooting and exonerate an officer from prosecution,” said Pavlou, the Fox School’s Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Information Technology and Strategy. “Instead, the use of data analytics and smartphones can reduce the use of lethal force by police.”

“There is a rush among police departments across the country to incorporate the use of body cameras by their officers, with millions of dollars being spent by federal and local governments,” said Pang, an assistant professor. “Instead, the decisions should be driven by evidence-based policy, and after careful consideration of scientific evidence.”

Click here to read more on their study.