Soft Data for Hard Questions: The Challenge of Evidence-Based Practice in Geriatric Care
Associate Professor &
Graham Trust Research Chair in Health Informatics,
School of Optometry
University of Waterloo
June 8, 2005
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Davis Centre 1304, University of Waterloo
View Video of Presentation in HI Alive Archive: Research Seminars Archive 2004-2005
Although the population is aging, it has been difficult to demonstrate the importance or effectiveness of geriatric services. This challenge will be explored in terms of the nature of specialized geriatric services and of the frail, older patients they serve, and in the context of more general reflections on the nature of evidence, data, and evidence-based practice. A geriatric service is a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary intervention – sometimes described as a “black box” – and it is hard to know what components of these interventions make a difference, in which settings, and for which patients. Frail older patients typically present with multiple complex and highly individualized problems, and the outcomes of these problems may not be well-captured by standardized assessments.
Given these challenges, it is particularly important in geriatric care that our definition of evidence, and our efforts to translate evidence into practice, make room for clinical information and judgment (what Feinstein called “soft data”), in addition to scientific, statistical assessments (“hard data”). An individualized approach to outcome measurement will be discussed as a framework to accommodate “soft data” in evidence-based geriatric practice.
About the Speaker
Paul Stolee is Associate Professor and Graham Trust Research Chair in Health Informatics in the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo, with a cross-appointment in the Department of Health Studies and Gerontology. Dr. Stolee has been actively involved in health research, health program planning and evaluation, and health policy analysis for nearly 25 years. Current research interests include geriatrics, rehabilitation, optometric practice, health information systems and databases, and the integration and use of knowledge and information in practice. Dr. Stolee received a Ph.D. in Health Studies from the University of Waterloo. He has a M.Sc. in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics from McMaster University, a M.P.A. in Public Administration from Queen’s University, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alberta.