Study Design

Research Regatta

The research questions, method, and participant inclusion criteria described below may "evolve" as institutional and organizational partners, voting participants and researchers help "co-create" the approach.


Non-optimized medication therapies affect millions of lives and cost as much as $528 billion in potentially avoidable healthcare spending in the US alone each year.

In this study, we will bring together key leaders from across the US to co-create an enhanced infrastructure, including enhanced payment and practice models, to accelerate development and implementation of products and services to optimize medication therapies for all people.

What is unique about this study is the use of new and emerging sciences - collaboration sciences, service-dominant logic, implementation science, network science, population health sciences, and information sciences - to help accelerate processes of developing and implementing transformational innovations to help address this challenge.

Why Now?

  • Optimizing medications is, arguably, one of the most significant areas of opportunity for creating new value (e.g. improving cost, quality, outcomes and patient satisfaction) in the US healthcare sector.

  • Physicians, pharmacists, nurses and others are demonstrating increasing success in optimizing medications use by working in patient-centered care teams.

  • Federal and state policymakers have a growing interest in supporting action to protect and strengthen the health of the population following the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • There is growing public and professional recognition of the value to care teams that US pharmacists and pharmacies can provide

  • Delivery of tests, vaccines and patient support during the COVID-19 pandemic significantly strengthened public awareness of the value of pharmacists and pharmacies.

  • Ability to move and share pharmacy-related data digitally is advancing rapidly, with support from agencies like the ONC.

  • Pharmacists will be increasingly needed to support delivery of new medication related products and services through innovations in pharmacogenomics, digital therapeutics and other advanced medication therapies.

Research Questions

Based on what is currently known or believed, and after taking into account today's payment, practice, measurement, technology, policy and research environments, please answer the following questions.

Question 1. Population Health Needs

Who are the key population groups that need enhanced services to optimize their medication therapies? What are their specific needs? In developing your answers:

  1. Please consider traditional medications, over the counter medicines, vaccines, pharmacogenomics and digital therapeutics.

  2. Please consider Health Equity and Empowerment. How will the enhanced infrastructure support health equity and empowerment for all people as an overarching priority? How will the participants involved in the regatta reflect these priorities?

Question 2. New/Enhanced Services Needed for Patients?

What new or enhanced services need to be delivered to populations to meet these needs? How would these enhanced services work? What would be done? By whom? When, where and how? How long would they take? How would they be adapted to different types of customers?

Question 3. Infrastructure Enhancements Needed to Support Services?

What key enhancements to existing US infrastructure need to be developed and implemented that could allow all US stakeholders to work together more efficiently and effectively to develop and deliver enhanced or new services to better meet these population health needs?

a. Payment and Incentive model enhancements?

b. Measurement model enhancements?

c. Digital Technology and Interoperability enhancements?

d. Policy enhancements?

e. New Non-Profit Utility(ies)?

f. Other enhancements?

Question 4. Research and Action Priorities

What are the priority research studies are needed to move forward to develop and implement these services and enhancements?

3.1 Research Priorities

3.2 Action Priorities

Output 4. Top 10 ranked list(s)

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Research Regatta Method

Overview of Method

A Research Regatta is a way to bring together leaders and researchers from multiple sectors and disciplines to "row together" towards a shared goal in society. The Regatta Model works by organizing people into a series of virtual "boats," with 7-15 people in each. Boats are organized to race in "sections". These include stakeholder sections (e.g. pharmacists, physicians, health plans, mixed crews and so on) and functional sections (e.g. services and operations, payment and finance, technology, policy, measures, and so on). each boat uses nominal group technique to brainstorm, refine and vote to develop consensus solutions to problems. Answers are then refined by multiple crews working together over several rounds.

The anticipated results are broadly supported, actionable plans for developing and implementing enhanced infrastructure and transformational innovations to improve the health of people in society.

Learn details about the general method here. View details about this study here.

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Regatta Timeline: May - January, 2021*

The Research Regatta™ timeline is as follows:

  1. Round 1. Preparation - April - August, 2021

  2. Round 2. Health Needs Identification - September 2021

  3. Round 3. Solutions Brainstorm - October, 2021

  4. Round 4. Preliminary Integration - November, 2021

  5. Round 5. Final Integration - December 2021

  6. Round 6. Summit - January, 2022

  7. Analysis and dissemination (January - April, 2022)

Timelines may be modified from time to time to accommodate input from participants.

Participant Selection Criteria


Medications and related therapies are prescribed to virtually everyone in the US at one time or another. They are an integral part of healthcare delivery and are used to treat many different types of illness. For this reason, we believe it is important to include all key stakeholders involved in medication therapies in this study. The selection criteria is designed to provide balanced representation from nationally recognized leaders from leading entities in multiple categories. Participants at 3 levels (network, organization and individual) are invited for each category.

Three Levels of Participation

Institutional Level

Institutional level participants in this study include government agencies, national associations, technology platforms and educational networks that have a leadership position in maintaining institutions - rules, standards and customs - that support the field. These entities are necessary and important participants in the study. Once they join, they are also asked to help to identify and invite other key organizations and leaders to support comprehensive representation in the study.

Organizational Level

Organizational level participants in this study are businesses and non-profits that help lead the field, based on their market-size and/or influence. For each category, a set of leading organizations with the collective ability to shape the field are identified for invitation.

Individual Level

At an individual level, participants in this study are senior leaders and established researchers from the above noted institutions and organizations, as well as supporting staff, researchers and students they may wish to invite.

Stakeholder Categories Invited

  1. Research Universities / Researchers

  2. Patient/Person Advocates

  3. Physicians, NPs, Dentists and Other Clinicians

  4. Pharmacists

  5. Pharmacies

  6. Pharmaceuticals and Other Product Manufacturers

  7. Health Plans and Plan Sponsors

  8. Health Systems / Clinics / IDN / VA/DOD

  9. Senior Care / SNFs

  10. Standards and Measures Organizations

  11. Health IT / Interoperability / Digital Health

  12. Policy Partners (Federal, State and Local)

  13. Health Equity and Empowerment - considered across all areas

  14. Investors, Foundations and other Funding Partners

Types of Individuals Invited

Practice Community

  • CEOs, Presidents and Other Executive Leaders

  • Strategy and Innovation Leadership

  • Service and operations leadership

  • Finance and payment leadership

  • Information Technology Leadership

  • Policy Leadership

  • Supporting staff invited by voting participants.

Research Community

Established researchers from nationally recognized research institutions, plus additional faculty, students, and staff they invite to support them.

Minimum Number of Panels (Boats)

The study design calls for a minimum target of 15-20 panels (boats) with 7-15 participants per boat from the various sectors noted. In general, more boats are better, as they will strengthen diversity of perspectives. If more than 15 people show up, they can be split into two boats. Insights from each boat will be combined, and analyzed qualitatively and statistically, to generate valid data about the overall model design and plans. The final number of boats will be contingent on commitments from invited institutions and organizations and availability of sponsorship funding.

Sponsorship Selection Criteria

A diverse set of sponsors will be invited to support the Regatta. Care will be taken to ensure that no one sponsor has an undue influence on the overall process or findings. Objectivity will be strengthened by allowing many sponsors to co-sponsor the Regatta with the understanding that we are all working together to achieve a public good - in this case optimizing medication therapies for US populations as quickly as possible. The sponsorships will help the researchers support an open, transparent, collaborative process leading to findings that can be broadly supported.

Want to Learn More About the Inclusion Criteria for this Study?

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  • Regatta website, including

    • Literature reviews in the Learning Center

    • Compilation of "innovator insights"

    • Posting of innovations in an Innovation Lab

  • Regatta panel meetings - 15-20 or more "boats"

  • Summit event - compiling evidence, determining next steps

  • Share findings

    • 1 Report

    • 1 or more academic paper submissions

    • 1 or more conference presentations

    • Next step research plans published on website

  • Report

A Collaboratively Funded Study

This is a collaboratively funded research study. Partial support is provided by the National Science Foundation Center for Health Organization Transformation at University of Louisville. Each organization that can is asked to provide additional support to help cover costs of conducting a high-quality study with multiple researchers in states across the US. Please support the Regatta at the recommended level your organization can support.

  • Executive Supporter: $5,000

  • Strategic Supporter: $10,000

  • Anchor Supporter: $25,000

  • Underwriter. $50,000+

Note: All invited organizations are encouraged to participate, regardless of ability to provide sponsorships. We understand not all organizations may be able to provide funding support.

Why a Collaborative Sponsorship Funding Model?

The goal of the study is to rapidly identify strategies and research priorities that are evidence-based, and can be supported by a broad array of stakeholders. A guiding principle of this research is that "people support what they help create". Collaborative funding is an important way that organizations and leaders can help this "co-creation" process happen.

The collaborative sponsorship model offers several advantages over traditional "single-funder" models:

  • Avoids "single-funder" bias

  • Faster start-up and execution

  • Stronger engagement by key stakeholders throughout the process

  • Modular study design - as more sponsors join, more study sections (e.g. boats, panelists and researchers) can be added.

  • Ability to rapidly add additional high-quality researchers from across the country to support additional study sections as they come in.

  • Allows many leaders to learn, innovate and move towards consensus in an open, transparent way.

  • All research results shared as a public good

Please support the study at a recommended level if you can to help this study be as successful as possible.