Outcomes Researcher

The current outlook on employment is highly unstable for many fields.  Healthcare and public health services, however, are still seeing an increase in demand and openings.  This makes careers in this area highly competitive in terms of salary and quite available to individuals with a number of interests.  Public health concerns are not just medically and service based, but are also very much reliant on research and data analysis.

The job of outcomes researcher combines scientific inquiry and the study of social trends to develop predictions and solutions for infectious disease control and intervention.  This can help to develop more beneficial treatment plans and also create cost effective strategies that serve the community and care providers.  This detail oriented career path could offer you a satisfying employment outlook that also aids local, state, and national populations. 

What Is An Outcomes Researcher?

An outcomes researcher reviews current standard in health care practice and looks at public health programs to determine benefit impact on a variety of levels.  This can include community health, use of resources, and fiscal expenditures.  You would weigh positives and negatives within your analysis to determine if changes in practice and implementation need to occur.  Along with your analysis, you would also consult with providing facilities and other healthcare professionals to optimize the impact of practice and programs.

As an outcomes researcher, you will be responsible for fulfilling the below listed duties:

  •   Collect population data through statistical surveys and narratives.
  •   Compare program and practice goals with outcome data.
  •   Review the structure and implementation of healthcare practices and interventions.
  •   Evaluate efficiency, efficacy, and productivity of current public health provision.
  •   Present findings at municipal meetings and offer solutions for better outcomes.
  •   Record data for evaluation of future trends and changes.

Characteristics

Personal skills will also play a large part in this line of employment:

  •   Computer proficiency:  Data entry and the use of specialized statistical software plays greatly into job performance.  This will require an understanding of operational systems and the ability to work with accuracy when recording information.
  •   Observational skills:  While much of the research that you conduct may be archive based, you will also need to conduct up to date interviews and surveys with the public.  Attention to details will allow you to see all the factors that influence the outcome you are examining. 
  •   Critical thinking:  You will also need to be able to identify patterns and trends within the data you are examining.  This should allow you to deduce reasonable conclusions as to success or failure of protocols. 
  •   Communication skills:  You will need to be able to share information with your research assistants with accuracy and clarity, but you will also need to be able to present your findings to other professionals.  As well, your interviews with the public will require good listening and speaking skills 
  •   Leadership skills:  Whether you are supervising a research staff or working on your own, leadership skills will also be necessary.  These are important when consulting with others and when advising care providers on how to better serve the  public.

Nature Of The Work

The majority of the job that is performed by an outcomes researcher takes place in an office setting, since research and data entry are critical to the work.  This may be in a public health department office or in a university setting.  Outcomes researchers can work alone, but will often manage research assistants and other staff who help in gathering and inputting data.  As information is analyzed, you will also need to compile and report your findings to the public health board.  This may be in a private conference or a publicly held municipal meeting.

Some field work is required for this position, and that would include interviewing members of the community to gather result information regarding health services and programs and their impact.  This information figures largely into the overall review, but can also help to identify solutions based on need.  Consultations with healthcare providers will also be necessary to share findings and to offer resolution suggestions regarding healthcare protocols and the effectiveness of treatment programs.

Education And Training

In order to become an outcomes researcher you will require either a Master’s or a Doctoral degree in epidemiology, statistical health analysis, or public health protocols.  Experience in the development and implementation of wellness programs is also necessary, as is prior research training in outcomes.  Many outcomes researchers will have trained as assistants while they are doing their graduate and post-graduate work, and this can be sufficient for job qualification.

As with other specialties in the public health sector, outcomes researchers are seeing extreme job growth and potential.  An increase of around 10% is expected in the next decade, and this allows for the assurance of security as well as the possibility for advancement.  Most outcome researchers in public health make around $90,000 a year, but even entry level applicants can receive as much as $60,000 per year.  This career choice would allow you to enjoy good wages while contributing to the overall service and function of public health.


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