Dustin D. French, PhD, of Northwestern Medicine Ophthalmology, is co-primary investigator on a recently awarded a Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The project will assess the quality of care and treatment for people from racial and ethnic minority groups for the three most common ocular diseases of cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
Title: “Health Disparities in Utilization, Quality, and Outcomes for Three Common Ocular Conditions (HealthDOC)”
Past studies provide strong evidence that disparities exist in healthcare, including in ophthalmology, and social determinants of health (SDOH) play an important role for explaining differences in how people of different ethnicities and races receive health care. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act and later the Medicare Access and Reauthorization Act of 2015, there has been emphasis on medical quality measures with the Medicare Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and National Quality Forum (NQF)-related metrics. The association between quality measures for ophthalmic conditions and healthcare disparities is poor. In fact, there has been little research to inform how SDOH impacts care practices and quality metrics with cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
The proposed “Health Disparities in Utilization, Quality, and Outcomes for Three Common Ocular Conditions (HealthDOC)” study, employed clinically, will address prevailing gaps between clinical quality measures and practice by a rigorous health services and outcomes research study design that evaluates ophthalmic NQF and meaningful measures using the Sight OUtcomes Research CollaborativE (SOURCE) to study health disparities.
SOURCE links and extracts data across healthcare systems from electronic health records to capture visual changes, clinical details (typically not available but through clinical trials) and health disparities, which is ideal for responding to Healthy People 2030 ocular goals. SOURCE overcomes major data barriers in ophthalmology health disparities work with visual outcome details for measuring treatment, quality and outcomes, joined with key information on race and ethnicity, the biological variable of gender, SDH measures, medications, hemoglobin A1c, CDC National Death Index Data and others.
This study will examine three major eye diseases (cataract, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease) and quantify the impact of SDOH on achieving established and peer-reviewed NQF ocular quality metrics, clinically meaningful measures on visual outcomes, and non-ocular morbidity and mortality for the chronic diseases of glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. The ocular conditions that scientists focus on are the most common causes of irreversible visual impairment and blindness in the U.S. and fulfills the target goals for National Eye Institute and Healthy People 2030.
Read more about this project >
Dustin D. French, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern Medicine.
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