Outcomes

The Outcomes Research Laboratory is focused on understanding medical practices in order to improve the end results of hospitalization. In doing so, we seek to coordinate our research with the work of Indiana University Health's Quality Improvement division.

In our research, we recognize high quality care as:

  • care that is needed (the appropriateness criteria)
  • care that is available to all who need it (the accessibility criteria)
  • care that minimizes harm while optimizing benefits (the effectiveness criteria)
  • and care that minimizes cost per unit of effectiveness achieved (the efficiency criteria).

We study traditional outcomes, such as laboratory test results, in order to learn whether a medical practice is necessary or whether its application has been successful. However, when only these technical measures are used many of the outcomes that matter most to patients and their families are missed.

We also study ways to measure quality of life, functioning, and well being. To study all the dimensions of care, we rely on the methods of biomedical research as well as those of the social sciences, often borrowing techniques from economics (e.g., cost-effectiveness analysis), psychology and sociology (e.g., questionnaire data), or epidemiology and public health (e.g., relative risk).

We strive to support the practice of evidence-based medicine by providing data about the benefits, risks, and costs of medical treatments. Our ultimate aim is to translate knowledge into practice in order to improve the care delivery system and to narrow the gap between what is known at a fundamental level and what we actually are able to do in practice.