New center a “hybrid” of health services, systems research

Dr. McConnellAn idea by Eric Orwoll, MD, Professor, Department of Medicine, for a health systems research center has been gathering momentum since 2010, and now, with the help of over 60 OHSU researchers who helped refine a vision and mission, has become an official OHSU research organization within the School of Medicine. The Center for Health Systems Effectiveness (CHSE) will be led by John McConnell, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, whose unique role as a health economist and academician represents the “hybrid” model of CHSE.

“OHSU is rich in health services researchers who are dispersed across various departments and schools,” said Dr. Orwoll, Director, Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute and Associate Dean for Clinical Science. “If we leverage those strengths and bring together researchers not only at OHSU, but those working at other Oregon universities and research entities, we can bring tremendous benefit to Oregon’s health systems challenges.”

Research at CHSE is driven by a systems perspective, which recognizes that focal changes in clinical practice, care delivery and funding reverberate across the health system.

“The capacity for society to contain the rising costs of health care, and to continue delivering care that benefits the entire population, requires analysis and data-driven action,” said Dr. McConnell (pictured), who also has appointments in the Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine and the Division of Management. “The way to get there is to track the simultaneous and evolving interactions between patients, providers and payers.”

OHSU Health Systems Research entities comparisonCHSE undertakes research to achieve the Triple Aim of improving population health, improving patient experience and reducing per capita costs of care. For OHSU clinicians and researchers, this represents collaboration, inter-professional practice and the pursuit of innovative models of research, evaluation, implementation and organizational change. A commitment to the objective evaluation of health system transformation efforts – often exemplified in data-driven analysis – is central to CHSE’s mission.

The Center’s founding goals are to:

  • Build a health services research platform and drive research collaborations that will unite OHSU health services researchers in their effort to achieve the Triple Aim.
  • Partner with OHSU Healthcare to coordinate and integrate OHSU research expertise with Healthcare Operations to identify opportunities to enhance care.
  • Develop the capacity to analyze large databases of administrative and medical records.
  • Respond to State and regional demand for health systems research and evaluation needs.

Work has already begun. CHSE has initiated a study with OHSU Healthcare to examine the care of patients with lower back pain. A second Healthcare project focusing on mammography screening seeks to develop OHSU guidelines to enhance patient experience and ensure that OHSU remains at the leading edge of evolving breast cancer screening standards. These projects will be explored in more depth in future articles.

CHSE also sponsors events directed at fostering interdisciplinary networking, while expanding awareness of advances in health systems policy and research. These events feature health services researchers and policy-makers, and draw participants from throughout the Portland and Southwest Washington region. Recent events have featured speakers from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), Providence Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) and the Oregon House of Representatives.

The CHSE currently receives research and infrastructure support from the Office of the President, OHSU Healthcare, Northwest Health Foundation and the Oregon Health Leadership Council.


Additional Resources

  • Want to learn more? Read these FAQs
  • Wondering how CHSE relates to the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center and Center for Evidence-based Policy? Check out this overview and comparison of OHSU health systems research organizations (also available at above graphic)