Health Services and Outcomes Research Program

Health services and outcomes research examines how people get access to health care, what health services they use, and what happens to patients as a result of this care. 

There are several reasons why health services should be a subject of research:

  • health services is a part of maintaining and improving people's health
  • there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of many interventions
  • conflicting perspectives of providers, patients, system managers, the industry

The societal value of health services and outcomes studies lies in identifying the ways in which health care can best be organized, financed, and delivered.  The main reason for public support of health services research is the common understanding that new knowledge will lead to more effective health care. 


C2E2 researchers conduct research on access, quality, and outcomes of care delivery.  Our mission is to contribute to closing the gap between health care that is possible and heath care that is delivered.  The goal of our research theme is to empirically assess the benefits and harms of therapeutic and health care delivery interventions in the acute and primary care setting.  This ambitious agenda brings together researchers from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds that are required for evaluating the effectiveness of diagnostic technologies, treatment procedures, and managerial solutions. 

Showcase projects

Our signature project is outcomes research in respiratory medicine which includes estimating the burden of respiratory diseases, comparing effectiveness of alternative interventions and pharmaco-epidemiological analysis.  The researchers in this area conduct multiple projects on access to treatment and adherence with rehabilitation among immigrant population suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

We successfully launched the program of research in adverse drug-related events in emergency patients.  We continue works in the evaluation of the access policy in providing hip-fracture surgery.  In collaboration with VGH Trauma Services, we completed mapping of trauma care in the province within the framework of integrated strategy for process-outcome evaluation in a regional trauma system.  The researchers in the theme have continued to study the health effects of delays in surgical care. 

In the area of primary and home care, we conduct several studies that evaluate the effect of changes in how care is delivered: whether presence of a registered nurse increases the quality of care in long-term care facility; or whether Home care and primary care working together for frail elders improve patient health outcomes.

By learning what works in everyday clinical practice we generate knowledge that helps physicians and patients to make shared decisions about the best approach to treatment.  In particular, we conduct surveys to understand patient experiences of home visits to Vancouver's elders and health literacy in newcomer communities in the Greater Vancouver Area.

We also conduct methodological research on causal inference from observational data.

Program Lead

Boris Sobolev

Boris is a Senior Scientist at C2E2 and Professor in the UBC School of Population and Public Health. From 2003-2013, he held a Canada Research Chair in Statistics and Modeling for Health Care. In 2018-2021, he held a Visiting Professorship at Oxford University. His research examines access to healthcare, treatments received, and patient outcomes. Boris co-authored two Springer books: Analysis of Waiting-Time Data In Health Services Research and Health Care Evaluation Using Computer Simulation.  His research interests include causal attribution in health services research, methodology for analysis of waiting times, risk of adverse events while awaiting medical services, and the use of simulation experiments in policy evaluation. He teaches Causal Inference in Public Health Sciences, an advanced course developing competency in causal inference methodology. In this YouTube course, Prof. Sobolev discusses causal inference.

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