Debra Ritzwoller, PhD

For the last 18 years, Debra Ritzwoller has served as a health economist and health services researcher at the Institute for Health Research. Her research focuses on variation in cancer treatment, outcomes, and costs in community settings; the impact of insurance benefit design on patient cost-sharing; and cost estimation and cost-effectiveness. She has also served as a Principal Investigator or Co-investigator on more than a dozen large, complex, multi-site studies that included data derived from the Epic® based Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect (KPHC) electronic health record (EHR) system.  Additionally, she is also involved in a variety of research related activities and projects associated with building, enhancing, and validating our Health Care Systems Research Network-sponsored federated research data infrastructure known as the Virtual Data Warehouse (VDW).


Cancer Recurrence: Detection in Administrative Data, Incidence, and Costs
Project Number: 5R01CA172143-03
Funder: National Cancer Institute
Performance Dates: 12/1/12-11/30/17    
Principal Investigator(s): Michael J. Hassett/Debra P. Ritzwoller
Role:  Co-Principal Investigator
Recurrence of cancer after initial curative therapy is a devastating and common event. But because most tumor registries do not capture recurrence, remarkably little is known about the incidence, treatment, or outcomes of recurrence. In this project, we are developing and validating breast, colorectal, and lung cancer specific algorithms that can be used to identify from claims and healthcare informatics systems when patients experience recurrence. We are now beginning to capitalize on the new opportunities this creates for research by measuring the impact of recurrence on cancer deaths and medical care costs in the US.

Cancer Research Network (CRN): a Research Resource within Health Care Delivery System
Project Number: U24CA171524
Funder: National Cancer Institute
Performance Dates: 09/25/12-08/31/17  
Principal Investigator: Larry Kushi
Role:  Co-Investigator and Scientific Co-leader of the Health Care Quality and Cost Scientific Working Group.
The Cancer Research Network supports activities that enhance the ability to conduct impactful, relevant cancer research in integrated health care systems that provide health care to over 10 million members. Activities include data resource enhancement, career development of junior investigators, funding of promising pilot studies, and promotion of collaborations among research scientists

Kaiser Permanente NCI National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) –
Cancer Care Delivery Research Program
Project Number: UG1CA189821
Funder: National Cancer Institute
Performance Dates: 08/01/14-07/30/19  
Principal Investigator: Louis Fehrenbacher
Role:  Co-Investigator and Cancer Care Delivery Research Co-Leader
Cancer Care Delivery Research (CCDR) encompasses a multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation. It examines how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and healthcare provider and individual behaviors affect cancer outcomes, access to and quality of care, cancer care costs, and the health and well-being of cancer patients and survivors.  Kaiser Permanente’s integrated health plan is an ideal platform for accelerating the translation of findings into clinical practice.

Cancer Recurrence: Detection in Administrative Data, Incidence, and Costs
Project Number: 1R01CA172073-01A1 
Funder: National Cancer Institute
Performance Dates: 08/1/12-07/31/17    
Principal Investigator:  Jessica Chubak
Role:  Site Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator
One in twenty people in the United States develops colorectal cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death. If patients and doctors had information about how common medications affect colorectal cancer recurrence risk, they could choose drugs that lower, or at least do not increase, that risk. Results from this study of medication use and colorectal cancer recurrence will help colorectal cancer survivors and their healthcare providers make better-informed decisions about medications to choose for common chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. The results from this clinically relevant, high-impact study will help CRC survivors and their providers make evidence-based decisions about how to manage chronic conditions.

Carroll N, Delate T, Menter A, Hornbrook MC,  Kushi L, Aiello Bowles EJ, Loggers ET, Ritzwoller DP. Use of Bevacizumab in Community Settings: Toxicity Profile and Risk of Hospitalization for Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients.   In press Journal of Oncology Practice.

Elston Lafata J, Salloum RG, Fishman PA, Ritzwoller DP, O'Keeffe Rossetti MC, Hornbrook MC. Preventive care receipt and office visit use among breast and colorectal cancer survivors relative to age- and gender-matched cancer-free controls.  J Cancer Surviv. 2014 Sep 25. [Epub ahead of print].

Loggers ET, Fishman PA, Peterson D, O’Keeffe-Rosetti MC,  Hornbrook MC, Kushi L, Lowrey S, Wagner EH, Weeks JC, Ritzwoller DP.  Advanced Imaging Among Health Maintenance Organization Enrollees with Cancer. J Oncol Pract. 2014 May 20. pii: JOP.2013.001258. [Epub ahead of print].

Ritzwoller DP, Carroll N, Delate T, Hornbrook MC,  Kushi L, Aiello Bowles EJ, Loggers ET, Menter A.  Comparative Effectiveness of Carboplatin and Paclitaxel with vs. without Bevacizumab in Patients with Advanced Non-small Cell Lung Cancer: The Cancer Research Network Experience. J Thorac Oncol. 2014 May;9(5):692-701. PMID:24633407.

Roblin D, Ritzwoller DP, Reese D, Carroll NM, Ping A, Daley M. The Influence of Deductible Health Plans on Receipt of the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Series. J Adolesc Health. 2014 Mar;54(3):275-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.12.001.

Ritzwoller DP, Glasgow RE, Sukhanova A, Bennett GG, Warner ET, Askew S, Goldman J, Emmons KM, Rosner BA, Colditz GA Economic Analyses of the Be Fit Be Well Program:  A Weight Loss Program for Community Health Centers. I J Gen Intern Med. 2013 Jun 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Hassett MJ*, Ritzwoller DP*, Taback N, Carroll N, Cronin AM, Ting GV, Schrag D, Warren JL, Hornbrook MC, Weeks JC. Validating Billing/Encounter Codes as Indicators of Lung, Colorectal, Breast, and Prostate Cancer Recurrence Using 2 Large Contemporary Cohorts.Med Care. 2012 Dec 6. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:23222531. *co-1st authors