Outcomes Research

The Saint Louis University’s Center for Health Outcomes Research translates research into policies and practices that improve health outcomes across patient populations.

We see outcome assessment and analysis as a vital part of establishing an equitable, efficient and affordable health care system. Our faculty, students and staff solve complex design and analytical problems in medicine and public health. We are engaged in state-of-the-science evaluations of the services, medications, devices and diagnostics that can optimize individual health and well-being.

SLUCOR's research is organized into four clinical areas:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiology
  • Pharmacoeconomics
  • Health care quality

Our scholarly work, and our commitment to influencing contemporary debate in medicine and public health, have helped us emerge as a nationally-recognized leader in the field of outcomes assessment, analysis and policy.

In addition to leading independent research, our team provides professional consulting services to academic, industry, government and nonprofit organizations. We provide guidance on study design, measurement, data collection, data management and warehousing, economic analysis, results reporting, program evaluation and more.

Our interdisciplinary approach brings together clinical specialists and methodologists in an atmosphere that fosters creativity, scholarly productivity and best-in-class methods. Our human and technology resources are deployed across a diverse set of projects, including program evaluations, clinical trials, quality assessments and epidemiological studies.

All of SLUCOR's projects are completed in a supportive infrastructure that includes secure data systems, telephone interviewing, web surveying, medical chart abstraction, document scanning and other critical tools for leading-edge research.

Diabetes Research

SLUCOR conducts research in the areas of medical care service delivery, device and medication development, and self-management education to improve the well-being of people with diabetes.

In addition to developing and coordinating research projects, SLUCOR faculty participate in a number of community-based programs that provide educational services to directly to people with diabetes, including the Diabetes Leadership Institute and Diabetes Network of St. Louis.

Working in collaboration with the St. Louis Diabetes Coalition, SLUCOR is leading an innovative community-based program to develop and maintain self-management skills of people with type 2 diabetes. The initiative, called Kick Diabetes, was funded by the St. Louis Regional Health Commission's Community-University Health Research Partnership.

Directors: Thomas E. Burroughs, Ph.D., and Eric S. Armbrecht, Ph.D.

Cardiovascular Research

Issues related to medical care quality and health disparities surround cardiovascular disease, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accounts for approximately 27 percent of all U.S. deaths.

Researchers at SLUCOR have a strong record of investigations into cardiovascular outcomes, with an emphasis on heart failure. We provide high-quality comprehensive analysis with an academic emphasis. Our skill in managing large databases, combined with our clinical expertise, provides a foundation for new avenues of research.

Our recent work has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The American Heart Journal and The American Journal of Medicine.

Research spotlight: A particular area of interest is describing patterns of care and resource utilization with drugs and implantable devices. Read more about SLUCOR's cardiology research.

Directors: Paul Hauptman, Ph.D., and Eric S. Armbrecht, Ph.D.

Pharmacoepidemiology Research

An understanding of the balance between the therapeutic benefit of pharmaceuticals and their potential risk is essential. An estimated 2.8 billion prescriptions are filled annually in the U.S., and adverse drug events could occur in as many as 2 million of them.

Pharmacoepidemiology, the study of the use and effect of prescription drugs, is a focal area of research and training at SLUCOR. Our faculty investigate the use and effectiveness of medications and develop analytic methods to detect and study adverse drug events. Our team also examines how patients comply with instructions for their prescriptions, as well as the many complex factors surrounding adverse drug events.

SLUCOR investigators work with the FDA, the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership, and the Veteran's Health Administration on research projects including the development of new signal detection methodologies, analysis to clarify suspected relationships between antidiabetic medications and adverse health outcomes, and strategies to translate those findings into changes that benefit the public.

Director: Thomas E. Burroughs, Ph.D.

Health Care Quality

The Saint Louis University Center for Outcomes Research develops and tests several measures of health care quality and develops strategies that yield rapid improvements in outcomes in the hopes of eliminating disparities in health care.

Health care quality is a broad concept with many important subdomains, including: effectiveness, safety, timeliness, patient centeredness, and efficiency. SLUCOR faculty and staff conduct research in a number of related specialty areas, including but not limited to:

  • Preventable hospitalizations
  • Public reporting and pay for performance strategies
  • Medical home models of care
  • Patient/customer satisfaction
  • Quality of life measurement
  • Chronic disease management
  • Health plan benefit design

A SLUCOR-led analysis of 7 million hospitalizations used a methodology developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to assess trends in preventable hospitalizations over a seven-year period in a Midwestern state. Preventable hospitalizations rates are a known indicator of quality of outpatient medical care available in the community.

Directors: Eric S. Armbrecht, Ph.D., and Thomas E. Burroughs, Ph.D.