What is Outcomes Research?

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), outcomes research seeks to understand the end results of particular health care practices and interventions. This includes outcomes that people experience and care about, such as change in the motor or cognitive function. For individuals with chronic conditions such as cerebrovascular disease, ‘end results’ include quality of life as well as mortality. By linking the care people get to the outcomes they experience, outcomes research can become the key to developing better ways to monitor and improve the quality of care. SORCan supports research aimed at improving health outcomes as part of its strategic plan.

Measuring Outcomes

Historically, clinicians have relied primarily on traditional biomedical measures, such as the results of laboratory tests, to determine whether a health intervention is necessary and whether it is successful. Researchers have discovered, however, that when they use only these measures, they miss many of the clinically meaningful outcomes. Hence, outcomes research also measures how people function and their experiences with care.
In patients with cerebrovascular disease there are several outcome measures that can be considered. Moreover, SORCan has the specific mandate of evaluating outcomes under different perspectives: the payer/government, the clinician, and patients/families.

Table 1. Examples of Outcomes in Stroke Research

Measure Example
Mortality: 30-day stroke fatality
Physiologic measures: Blood pressure
Clinical events: Myocardial infarction or recurrent stroke
Symptoms that may limit rehabilitation: Neglect
Functional measures: SF-36, scale of fatigue
Rehospitalization: Hospital readmission, ED visit
Disability: mRS at 90 days, at discharge
Medical complications: Pneumonia, urinary tract infeccion, pulmonary embolism
Discharge disposition: Discharge home, rehabilitation institurion, home care
Length of hospital stay (LOS): Mean / median LOS
Patients’ experiences with care: Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey (Link)
Quality of Stroke Care: Indicators of quality of stroke care
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