Education and Research in Healthcare at Stanford – Health System Example

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"Education and Research in Healthcare at Stanford" is a perfect example of a paper on the health system.   There are many departments of research at Stanford University’ s school of medicine. The basic departments include Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Developmental Biology and Health Research, and Policy, among many others. The Department of Health Research and Policy has three divisions: Biostatistics; Epidemiology; and Health Services Research Division (Stanford University School of Medicine, 2015). This paper focuses on the Health Services Division. Department of Health Research and Policy: Masters Degree in health services Research Division This department aims to provide students with skills for conducting and interpreting research in health policy and clinical decision-making.

The requirements of core course cover four main areas of knowledge (Stanford University School of Medicine, 2015): Empirical research methods, covering intermediate biostatistics; discrete data analysis, regression, survival analysis, and prediction. Health policy, which covers health and medical care economics, and the regulation of health care (including finance and policy). Clinical decision-making, covering health care costs, risks, and benefits analysis Applied research Core faculty members are 8 in total and include: Mark Hlatky(the Program Director and Professor of Medicine and Health Research and Policy) Laurence Baker (Professor of Health Research and Policy) Jayanta Bhattacharya (Associate Professor of Medicine) Kate Bundorf (Associate Professor of Health Research and Policy) Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, among others There are also other affiliated faculty members both from within (16 in total) and without (4 members) Stanford University. Like all departments, this department does not stand alone.

It gets support from other departments as well, and with which it enjoys a mutual relationship. For example, the faculty members come from various fields within and without the healthcare sector including Anesthesia, Pediatrics, Management, Statistics, among others.

By inference, the department is supported by nearly- if not entirely- all the Clinical Science Departments: Cancer Institute; Cardiothoracic Surgery; Dermatology; Medicine; Nephrology; Neurology; Oncology, among many others (Stanford University School of Medicine, 2015). Trends and their Impacts on the Department, and Mitigation A number of trends as a result of both macro- and micro-environmental factors are having many impacts on not just education and research in general, but also specific research on health and policy. In relation to the case study, the arguments are mainly by inference (rather than any specific evidence tying to the trends to the education practices here).

That said, while these trends may have negative impacts on medical education, they are here and that cannot change. Thankfully, they can be leveraged to attain bottom-line performance (Jamieson & Towle, 2011). Outcomes Research One such trend is the increased emphasis on ‘ outcomes research’ . Cook and West (2013) define outcomes research as focusing on clinical outcomes; that is, the impact of interventions on patients, which also includes the behavior of physicians during patient care. Cook and West (2013) see this emphasis as important as, they say, the main goal of medical education is to ultimately improve patients’ health.

Therefore, outcomes research helps identify inefficient and ineffective education practices and, in the end, fosters “ responsiveness to social priorities” (Cook & West, 2013, p. 163). However, there remains a debate about the validity of outcomes research. Cook and West (2013), for instance, cite five challenges to the use of patient outcomes to determine medical education practices: dilution (which has to do with the fact that the patient-centered practices do not reach the field of actual practices as they are taught in school, instead of diluting with every step); lack of adequate sample size; the failure to find the cause-effect link; the potential bias that accompanies the selection of outcomes; and teaching to the test. Nonetheless, client-focused practice is a major trend in today’ s marketplace, including the health care sector, and it is very likely that the department in question here has taken note.

Meanwhile, the direction of the debate is likely to influence adjustments. Besides, as Ovseiko et al (2012) note, research does have an impact on academic clinical medicine. One very likely area of influence for this department is policy.

The focus on stakeholder management across all sectors (the customer, in this case, the patients, being key stakeholders) has seen much focus turning to ethical behavior. In one respect, ethical behavior includes the behavior of healthcare personnel when caring for patients (Konukbay et al. , 2014). In another respect, there is increased attention on providing value; that is, reciprocating patients’ expenditure in service and quality. The core areas of focus in this department reflect this shift.

All these are key issues of health care policy today. Science and Technology Advances Indeed, the past three decades have seen enormous progress towards the best-understanding human condition from both scientific and biological perspectives. The aging process, for example, has come to be understood as a biological and not a chronological process. More discoveries have helped to understand even better life and disease at both molecular and genetic levels. The focus of research has also changed over time, depending on the generally trending attention of the medical field. For example, in the 19th century, attention was mainly on anatomy.

That changed to physiology in the 20th century. In the 21st, attention has increasingly turned to molecular biology(Jamieson & Towle, 2011). With increased attention to molecular biology, scientists have focused on common variation, while and policymakers are increasingly concerned about risk factors, ‘ risks’ here being a major area of study in the department (although this may not specifically have to do with this trend) (Jamieson & Towle, 2011). Science and technology can be leveraged for positive impacts. For example, technology has ensured more information is available. If captured, stored, used, and communicated effectively, this information can be invaluable for the faculty, and the students.

Communication technologies enable integration and interaction with other systems. Social and Economic Trends According to the World Health Organization, social determinants of health are “ the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age, as well as the systems in place to help deal with illness” (Jamieson & Towle, 2011, p. 7). In turn, these circumstances are influenced by other larger forces, including politics, and social and economic policies. Scientific and technological progress in the developed world, as well as improved conditions of living, have led to changes in sedentary lifestyles and diets.

Rapid social change (including alcohol and substance abuse) has led to both social and health problems(Jamieson & Towle, 2011). Inequities in income distribution, as well as inequity in the geographic distribution of educational concerns, socioeconomic disadvantages, and distribution of poverty, have also impacted medical practice (especially in terms of policy), which has in turn affected medical education(Jamieson & Towle, 2011). Mitigation against the potential negative impacts of these trends on healthcare and medical education involves using data to predict and anticipate the future.

This involves the utilization of data-mining technologies to help predicate the future and initiate effective change.


Stanford University School of Medicine (2015). Degree Overview. Retrieved 03 February


Cook, D. & West, C. (2013). Perspective: Reconsidering the Focus on Outcomes Research

in Medical Education: A Cautionary Note. Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 88(2), 162-167

Konukbay, D., Yildiz, D., Fidanci, B.E., Yavuz, S. & Akyol, M. et al. (2014). Determination

of Professional Behaviors of Nurses Working in an Educational and Research Hospital. International Journal of Caring Sciences

Jamieson, J. & Towle, A. (2011). Future Health Care Trends: Impact on Postgraduate

Medical Education. Paper Commissioned as Part of Environmental Scan for the Future of Medical Education in Canada Postgraduate Project

Ovseiko, P.V., Oancea, A. & Buchan, A.M. (2012). Assessing Research Impact in

Academic Clinical Medicine: a Study Using Research Excellence Framework Pilot Impact Indicators. BMC Health Services Research, 12, 478

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