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Our researchers strive to improve the quality of life that patients receive in a variety of ways. By studying the basic building blocks of life, our laboratory scientists develop diagnostics and treatments for a range of diseases and illnesses. By working together with clinicians and patients, our clinical researchers develop new life-saving methods of delivering patient care. By working with the general public at large, our health economists strive to improve the way that healthcare policy is made to address the needs of Canadians.

Dr. Feng Xie, a health economist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and associate professor of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics at McMaster University, is currently leading a national study that strives to calculate how Canadians’ view on quality of life. This study has the potential to increase the involvement that the general public has in guiding healthcare decision making.

“EQ-5D is a questionnaire used worldwide to measure health outcomes and quality of life for a variety of medical interventions,” states Dr. Xie. “The questionnaire focuses on five main areas: mobility, self-care, ability to perform usual activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression.”

Dr. Xie and his team are surveying participants from the general public in four sites across Canada – Hamilton, Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver. The participants are asked to determine which improvements in quality of life are most important to them.

“It’s important to take into account the public’s preferences when it comes to evaluating health outcomes and quality of life, and especially when this information is indirectly used in health policy making” states Dr. Xie. “In a country with a publicly-funded healthcare system such as Canada, every health policy could potentially affect everyone in the society so let their voice be heard in this decision making process. The EQ-5D scoring is developed for this purpose.”

Research conducted by our health economists helps to guide the way that care is efficiently delivered both at St. Joe’s and across our country. Dr. Xie hopes that his findings will help to tailor clinical programs and future health policy to reflect the needs and preferences of Canadians.

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