National Education and Research Center for Outcomes Assessment in Healthcare (NERCOA)
Linking clinical practice, research and education
The National Education and Research Center for Outcomes Assessment in Healthcare (NERCOA) was established in 1991 with funding from the United States Public Health Service.
Originally created to link research, clinical practice and education for health professionals, the Center has three major goals:
- conducting research in outcomes assessment
- disseminating information
- encouraging the use of multidimensional outcome measures by health care providers
Conducting Research in Clinical Effectiveness and Outcomes Assessment
As the health care industry increasingly is required to evaluate the effectiveness of patient treatment, new studies and outcome measures are needed to document cost-effectiveness and improved quality of life.
NERCOA offers patient-centered, multidimensional outcome measures and economic assessment in clinical studies to evaluate therapeutic and pharmaceutical interventions.
These clinical studies and analyses assist health care providers in making more informed treatment decisions. Current research studies include the following:
- Evaluate economic impact and outcomes assessment of clinical and pharmaceutical
- interventions in ambulatory, acute and chronic care settings
- Estimate costs of drug-related morbidity and mortality using a decision analytic framework
- Evaluate modalities and locations of health care delivery
- Assess patient-centered quality of life
- Compare physiologic, functional, general health status and disease-specific outcome measures
To facilitate the implementation of multidimensional health status measures in clinical practice, NERCOA produces a variety of educational formats:
- Educational literature: Monographs, newsletters
- Critical analyses of current literature
- Continuing education programs
Using Outcome Measures
NERCOA is contributing to the field of outcomes assessment by conducting the following projects which encourage the use of outcome measures by health providers:
- Evaluate effectiveness of pharmaceutical care for patients with diabetes in 10 ambulatory care settings
- Assess generic and disease specific outcome measures in a 21-site study for pulmonary rehabilitation
- Develop and evaluate a quality of life measure for patients on clozapine
- Provide critical literature reviews on outcome assessment in the treatment of various chronic diseases
- Develop education monographs and videotapes on quality of life assessment in arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke and distribute to 480 allied health programs Conduct national and regional workshops on how to implement outcome assessment measures for educators and practitioners
- Consult with pharmaceutical companies, national business and health professional organizations, institutions and individual investigators
Judith Barr, ScD, Director
Dr. Barr is a graduate of Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, concentrating in health services research, including decision analysis and economic evaluations. She is associate professor of pharmacy administration and medical laboratory science at Northeastern University, and serves as a consultant to the Centers of Disease control, pharmaceutical industries, health care institutions and universities.