The Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research (PCOR) at the Medical College of Wisconsin was founded with a focus on studying ways to provide effective and efficient patient care services and on related health outcomes. PCOR is composed of a group of investigators—supported by dedicated staff—with a wide range of clinical backgrounds and areas of research expertise. In bringing this diverse group of investigators together, the Center has fostered the creation of innovative ideas regarding how to evaluate and improve the quality of patient care across diverse populations and geographic regions.
The PCOR faculty offer expertise in internal medicine, surgical disciplines, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, emergency medicine and hematology-oncology, as well as proficiency in economics, epidemiology, sexual medicine, human factors, and biostatistics. They employ broad research approaches that include survey methods, secondary analysis of existing large databases, and the design and evaluation of interventions to improve the delivery of health care. With an interdisciplinary perspective, PCOR investigators design studies that will translate innovative research to care that make a difference in patients’ lives.
Areas of research focus for the Center include:
- Cancer control—particularly related to breast cancer therapy and survivorship issues
- Cancer outcomes—understanding ways in which outcomes may vary for underserved populations and ways to ameliorate these disparities
- Cardiovascular outcomes—including projects designed to improve care for hypertension, diabetes and obesity
- Osteoporosis—relating to screening practices, decision-making and pharmacoepidemiology of bony fractures
- Surgical care outcomes—involving outcomes related to breast and spine surgery
- Patient-physician communication and medical decision-making—including populations such as pediatric and adult ICU patients and veterans
- Patient safety—consisting of issues related to shift handoffs, resident training, inpatient documentation and the role of hospitalists
- Use of the electronic medical record (EMR)—especially as it relates to communication between the doctor and patient
- Measurement of patient-reported outcomes—including health-related quality of life, with applications in research and clinical care
Additional areas of focus by many faculty include issues related to aging and attention to socioeconomic disparities in healthcare processes and outcomes.
While the majority of faculty and staff are housed at the Medical College of Wisconsin, additional members of the PCOR team reside in the Veterans Affairs Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Program at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee. Examples of ongoing research include community-based participatory research, large-data-set analysis, interventions designed to improve control of chronic disease and obesity, time-motion studies designed to assess physician workload and evaluation of the use of diagnostic tests. Results from these research projects are important to general and veteran populations and greatly contribute to the mission of PCOR.
PCOR faculty collaborate closely with members of the Division of Biostatistics in the Institute for Health and Equity, where faculty and staff biostatisticians provide expertise in health services research, survey development and analysis and scale development.