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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mary E Charlton, PhD (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: This book describes design issues, outcome measures, risk adjustment, and other important issues/topics pertinent to conducting health outcomes research.
Purpose: Although not expressly stated, the purpose appears to be to provide a basic understanding of issues related to outcomes research, as well as a high-level road map for conducting outcomes research. This is a worthy objective given the growing importance of outcomes research initiatives (quality improvement, comparative effectiveness, etc.).
Audience: The book is intended for students with varying degrees of clinical and epidemiologic background and researchers new to outcomes research.
Features: After describing the reasons for the growing need for, and importance of, outcomes research, the book explains the fundamental design issues. It covers a broad array of outcome measures and discusses risk adjustment and other pertinent issues related to outcomes research. It also specifically addresses data collection and analytic methods at a high level before discussing the display and interpretation of results. Several helpful tables compare different tools and methods. For example, one table displays the health domains covered by each of the commonly used, health-related, quality of life instruments. There are good discussions and comparisons of various risk adjustment methods, albeit at a fairly high level. It would have been helpful if the book included scenarios/vignettes with discussion questions for each chapter to help students understand the potential applications of the various methods and principles, but the information is presented in a clear and straightforward manner.
Assessment: This is a comprehensive book written at a level appropriate for graduate students and researchers that can serve as a valuable resource for them. I would consider using this book in a course intended for students seeking degrees in epidemiology, health services research, and public health.