Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy

Health Outcomes Research and Policy faculty

Research and teaching in the Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy seeks to improve medication-related outcomes, considering the perspective of patients, providers, and policymakers. This includes social and behavioral aspects of pharmacy, research to maximize medication-related outcomes, and comparative effectiveness and safety research. The overall goal of the department is to improve medication effectiveness through practice and population-based research.

Social and Behavioral Aspects

Social and behavioral work conducted in the department focuses on understanding how factors such as costs, patient behavior, provider behavior, and health system organization influence medication use. Much of this research assesses how these factors interact to affect medication adherence. Faculty in the department have studied medication adherence from various perspectives. Their work focuses largely on the interaction of patients and providers. They teach the evidence-based communication skills set, motivational interviewing, to student pharmacists in preparation for patient conversations about medication adherence and health behavior changes needed in comprehensive disease management. The training offers instruction on interviewing techniques that help patients with exhibited resistance and/or ambivalence to making health changes. Through this method, providers are able to uncover the internal motivation behind such resistance and are therefore better equipped to assist in the successful treatment of patients. Other faculty approach patient behavior from a behavioral economics perspective, specifically applied to obesity prevention and medication adherence. This stream of work looks at how patients value immediate versus future benefits and costs of treatments or behaviors, with the intent of developing more effective strategies to optimize patient behavior and health outcomes.

Research to Maximize Outcomes

The department seeks to maximize medication-related outcomes while improving efficiency in healthcare delivery, including work with informatics and practice-based interventions. Faculty are involved with the development, implementation, and assessment of medication-related technologies. The work focuses on both pharmacy-based technology, as well as tools that may be used to improve patient medication use. The department also assists pharmacists in the efficient and effective management of their practice, and provides new mechanisms for communicating with patients and other healthcare professionals. Faculty also approach practice-based research from the organizational perspective, focusing on implementation and adoption of new programs, including studies on pharmacy-based immunization programs.

Comparative Effectiveness and Safety Research

Comparative effectiveness research evaluates the benefits and harms of treatments and interventions in real-world settings. Faculty research and graduate student training focus on methods in pharmacoepidemiology used to analyze large populations represented in observational data sources such as administrative claims and electronic medical record data, and methods of evidence-based medicine used to synthesize results of existing research. This research seeks to understand factors driving existing treatment patterns and elucidate comparative differences in the effectiveness and safety of existing treatments and other healthcare interventions. Ultimately, this work is important to clinical decision-making and healthcare policy.

Last Updated: January 17, 2017