Researching best outcomes

October 05, 2017

At North York General Hospital (NYGH), the patient experience is at the heart of everything we do. Katie Dainty, PhD, the hospital's new Research Chair in Patient-Centred Outcomes, is interested in finding new ways to enhance this experience by applying an often-ignored lens: the patient's perspective.

As a qualitative social scientist, Katie studies assumptions, perspectives, and motivations, rather than reams of statistical or mathematical data, to address health care challenges. "We don't always think about the patient and family perspective when evaluating the outcome of treatment or surgery," she explains. "It's important to remember that even if the care was clinically perfect, a patient's life may be changed dramatically and they have to deal with after effects, both physically and psychologically. The question is: what can we do leading up to, during and after hospital care to ensure there is the best possible long-term outcome for the patient and their family?" 

Katie points to cancer care programs (such as North York General's Colorectal Cancer Program)  as areas of health care that have made significant inroads in improving patient-centred outcomes. "Cancer care often spans the entire journey, from initial screening and diagnosis to treatment and follow-up care," she says. "I believe there are elements of this approach that can be incorporated elsewhere."

In her most recent role as Scientist with the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, Katie conducted research on patient-centred outcomes for survivors of sudden cardiac arrest and their families as well as lay responders to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. A key part of the research was determining why those who witness a cardiac arrest perform (or do not perform) much needed CPR. Her work has been recognized by her peers through the American Heart Association Young Investigator Award and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Rising Star Award.

North York General is the perfect place to further her research in enhancing and transforming health care, according to Katie. "As the majority of Canadians receive hospital care in community hospitals such as North York General, I believe my research here will have the greatest impact on our population," she says. "And this hospital is very much focused on enhancing the patient and family experience. It's the ideal fit."

Katie is North York General's fourth Research Chair, joining the Gordon F. Cheesbrough Research Chair in Family and Community Medicine, the Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, held by Patricia Trbovich, and the Research Chair in Knowledge Translation and Implementation, held by Monika Kastner. The hospital is immensely grateful to the North York General Foundation for their support in establishing these Research Chairs. 

The appointment of the new Research Chair is part of our overall strategy to transform care through applied research and innovation. Find out more about our Strategy 2015-2018 and research and innovation at North York General. 

This article first appeared in the September 2017 of The Pulse, North York General Hospital's community newsletter. 

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