Health Services & Outcomes Research
Population based studies of health services and outcomes are also being carried out. Health services research examines access to health care, quality of health care, how much care costs, and what happens to patients as a result of this care. It attempts to bridge the gap between what is and what ought to be. Some specific areas of interest for researchers in Nova Scotia include access to and quality of palliative and end-of-life care, waiting times for radiation therapy, and long-term care of cancer patients.
In May 2004, Cancer Care Nova Scotia introduced the Peggy Davison Cancer Research Scientist Award. Named in honour of Peggy Davison, Inaugural Board Chair for CCNS, the award provides $100,000 in each of six consecutive years to build cancer knowledge in the area of health services and outcomes research.
The first recipient of the award was Dr. Eva Grunfeld, now the Director of Health Services Research for CCNS. Dr. Grunfeld is a clinician and health services researcher who holds several peer-reviewed grants and has conducted research on the continuum of cancer care, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
With funding from the Peggy Davison Award, Dr. Grunfeld has been building an expert team in health services research. She is interested in the entire spectrum of cancer control and continues to examine issues of cancer survivorship as well as end-of-life care. Her recent studies include: examining the issue of follow-up care of breast cancer patients; evaluating ways to streamline the diagnosis of patients with symptoms suggestive of cancer; and indicators of quality of end-of-life care. Dr. Grunfeld hopes to translate findings from this health services research into improved care for cancer patients.
Before joining CCNS, Dr. Grunfeld held the positions of clinician scientist with Cancer Care Ontario, career scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Senior Scientist with the Ottawa Health Research Institute.
Studies that have recently been conducted in the areas of health services and outcomes research include:
- Radiotherapy Wait Times for Patients with a Diagnosis of Invasive Cancer, 1992-2000 (published June 2004)
- Canadian Cities Study: Hospital Use by Persons Dying of Cancer (published October 2004)