Studying Real World Results to Improve Patient Care

At Massachusetts General Hospital, the research process doesn’t end with the development of a new screening test, diagnostic tool, device or treatment. In many ways, this is only the beginning.

The goal of outcomes research at Mass General is to examine the effectiveness and value of disease prevention, as well as interventions in real-world scenarios. 

It looks beyond the patients and the treatment itself and examines the impact and value of health care quality and health systems, as well as the impact of social factors on therapeutic outcomes. 

Here are some examples of questions investigated by our outcomes researchers:

  • What are the factors affecting length of hospital stay and likelihood of readmission?
  • How does the length of a patient’s operation relate to likelihood of infection?
  • How do patient outcomes in our health care system compare to those in other parts of the US and in other countries?
  • What are some areas where we still see disparities in patient treatment and outcomes, and what are the reasons for these disparities?
  • What is the influence of insurance coverage and health care reform on patient outcomes?
  • How can health care quality be better measured?
  • What is the value of various diagnostic tests, treatments or approaches to care for different diseases?

Outcomes research also takes a very patient-centered approach. This research is meant to engage patients and the community to examine issues that matter to them, such as the duration and quality of life, functional outcomes and costs of care.

To see examples of how the Mass General Department of Surgery develops generalizable knowledge from real-world patient care outcomes, please visit the Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery.

To see how the Mass General Department of Medicine is working to identify and disseminate the best practices for the management of infectious disease including HIV and tuberculosis, please visit the Medical Practice Evaluation Center.

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