University of Saskatchewan

September 23, 2014   

U of S Researcher Harnesses Statistics to Sort How Health Perceptions Change Over Time

Photo Courtesy of SHRF
October 21, 2010

“How do you feel?” is a question patients often hear, but one that doesn’t always give an accurate picture of their quality of life since the frame of reference for their responses can change over time, says University of Saskatchewan (U of S) health researcher Lisa Lix.

Lix has been awarded $200,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to develop new statistical methods to better understand changes in this measure – called health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

“An individual’s perceptions of his or her well-being are as important as objective measures, such as functional ability, when studying the effects of chronic disease and its treatment,” said Lix, who holds a Centennial Chair in the U of S School of Public Health. “However, the ‘ruler’ we use to evaluate our health can stretch or shrink over time, making it difficult to detect change in HRQOL and its responsiveness to treatment.”

Lix leads an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and statisticians from the U of S, McGill University in Quebec and Trinity Western University in British Columbia. They will develop and compare new statistical tools and apply them to HRQOL data for stroke patients and patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

“High-quality information and the tools to use it are critical both to improving patient care at the bedside and to inform sound public health care policy,” said Beth Horsburgh, U of S associate vice-president research- health and vice-president research and innovation at the Saskatoon Health Region. “The work of Dr. Lix at the U of S and her collaborators at other universities promises to help improve the care of those with chronic illnesses – both at home and abroad.”

Through this research, Lix and her team will develop better statistical methods and software tools that can be used for HRQOL and other “self-report” measures of health. Clinicians and health researchers can use these tools to gain valuable insights about the influence of disease progression and health-care treatment, and inform decisions of both health-care providers and policy makers.

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For more information, contact:

Erica Schindel, School of Public Health
University of Saskatchewan
Tel: (306) 966-2663
Email: erica.schindel@usask.ca

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