Funded Research

The Center research teams are committed to ensuring that their research discoveries are actionable and effective in actual practice settings.  Houston Methodist Hospital is consistently ranked among the top academic institutions in the U.S. for safety, quality, and innovative care. This environment ensures that research evaluating innovative therapeutic procedures also has an efficient implementation plan, supports patient decision-making, and includes effective education for physicians and other health professionals. 

The Center programs are led by multi-disciplinary teams of clinician-scientists and research scientists trained in:

  • Health services research
  • Health economics
  • Industrial and systems engineering
  • Health care management


Funded Projects

Investigating the Technological Contributors to Burnout of Healthcare Professionals

This study will identify technological contributors to nurses’ and physicians’ fatigue and burnout in the intensive care unit. Nurses and physicians will be observed while wearing eye tracking glasses designed to show observers exactly what nurses and physicians are looking at in real time as they move freely in healthcare settings. These glasses will be used to model the distribution of visual attention and cognitive engagement with the technology used in these healthcare settings. A fatigue-detection wearable system developed at Texas A&M University will also be used to monitor fatigue levels. This smart watch-based system will monitor heart rate, heart rate variability, and activity levels. The data from the eye-tracker and fatigue-tracker devices will be monitored by an observer in real-time and additional information about tasks, technology usage, and activities will be collected. The wearable tool also includes a functionality to allow nurses to report periods of high stress/fatigue by simply tapping on the watch face.

Assessment of Access to Specialty Care Among Underserved Patients

Teams comprised of physicians, residents, and fellows from Houston Methodist provide specialty care to uninsured and underserved patients at various Federally Qualified Health Centers throughout Houston through a gift from Occidental Petroleum Corporation. The program is known as the OXY Scholars Program. Researchers at the Center for Outcomes Research are conducting an analysis to examine the impact this program has on health outcomes and quality of life, while also producing new knowledge and driving innovations in healthcare delivery. This study will determine the difference in treatments that Houston Methodist physicians, residents, and fellows at the Legacy Community Health Services have made on the patients’ health outcomes and their overall quality of life.

Understanding Nursing Staff Drowsy Driving

Many nursing staff find themselves falling asleep and driving in a drowsy condition back to their homes at the conclusion of a 12 hour work shift. Recently there has been an increase in accidents, injuries and fatalities due to drowsy driving in the nursing population. This study aims to design a user-centered system to target the issues of drowsy driving as it pertains to nursing staff, through interviews, participant drive logging, and vehicle data logging. This research utilizes a user centered approach to develop educational and technological interventions to prevent drowsy driving among shift work nurses. Moreover, it involves a naturalistic driving study and analyzes data gathered from the study in order to develop algorithms that can detect drowsy driving. The research findings will be used to structure a recommendation set for future drowsy driving technology and education programs. Additionally, the technology and educational program developed can be shared with additional hospitals.

Designing Systems to Prevent Provider Burnout

Burnout has been linked to a number of undesirable outcomes, including medical errors. The cost of burnout in healthcare professionals has been estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars due to turnover, reduced hours, and early retirement. The epidemic of burnout is widely acknowledged, but there is still little knowledge regarding practical interventions to prevent and reduce burnout. Building resiliency into the system through environmental elements is an innovative approach that could affect well-being without demanding additional time and work. In this study, MRI technology will be used to determine the effect of nature on work stress. This research will allow us to test if exposure to nature decreases work stress over time.

ransitions EXplored And Studied (TEXAS)

The purpose of this grant-funded study was to reduce avoidable 30-day readmission rates, increasing savings in cost and increasing health care quality in the United States. Reduction of readmission rates also avoids regulatory penalties. The goal of the study was to find the most effective way to prevent these avoidable readmissions.

Sepsis Early Recognition and Response Initiative (SERRI)

The purpose of this grant-funded study was to demonstrate the extent to which it can reduce the human and financial impacts of sepsis in other settings, including short-term acute care hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities. The SERRI program was developed at the Houston Methodist Hospital (Houston, Texas), a 700-bed tertiary care urban teaching hospital, and at that site has been shown to reduce the case fatality rate of sepsis and the costs of sepsis-associated hospital stays.