Glossary

Adverse events
Undesirable experiences associated with medical care, such as a surgical site infection or other postoperative complications, serious morbidity, or death. The goal is to minimize or eliminate such events.
Behavioral risk factors of disease
Individual behaviors such as smoking, lack of exercise, poor dietary choices and overconsumption of alcohol that have a negative impact on health and lead to chronic disease.
Chronic medical and psychiatric disease
Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, that persist over time and require consistent efforts to keep the disease from progressing or causing significant declines in quality of life. Psychiatric diseases, often referred to as mental illnesses, affect mood, thinking processes, the ability to relate to others or daily functioning.
Clinical pathways in surgery
The different tasks involved in surgical care, which are defined, optimized and sequenced to create a standardized pathway. By standardizing surgical care, it improves quality across the board and shortens hospital stays.
Cluster randomized trial
A type of randomized controlled trial in which randomization occurs at the group level rather than the individual level.
Comparative effectiveness research
Research designed to inform health care decisions by providing evidence on which treatment options work best for patients and by comparing the treatments' associated benefits and harms.
Complex surgical patient
A patient either undergoing a complex surgical procedure or a patient with multiple comorbidities undergoing a common procedure.
Data mining
The computational process of discovering "hidden" and previously unknown information, patterns and knowledge in large data sets.
Disease burden
The impact of a disease or health condition in terms of mortality, morbidity, quality of life and financial cost.
Health disparities
Differences between populations — often defined by socio-demographic factors such as race and ethnicity, age, sex, or social class — in health outcomes or access to factors that promote health.
Health outcomes
Changes in health status for individuals, groups or populations.
Human factors and ergonomics
A multidisciplinary field involving psychology, engineering, biomechanics, industrial design and other areas in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance, and used to fulfill the goals of productivity, and occupational health and safety.
Institute of Medicine
An independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision-makers and the public.
Knowledge synthesis
Activities that lead to summary and appraisal of existing evidence in a format ready for application and most useful to end users, including systematic reviews, meta-analyses, evidence profiles and clinical practice guidelines.
Mayo Clinic Health System
A group of clinics, hospitals and health care facilities providing primary and specialty care for people in more than 70 communities across Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Georgia.
Mayo value proposition
Mayo Clinic measures the value of care provided to patients in terms of both quality (patient outcomes, patient satisfaction and safety) and cost over time. The goal is to strive for the highest quality care while reducing costs.
Meta-analysis
The statistical combination of two or more separate studies.
Observational studies
Studies in which the individuals (or other units) are allocated to different interventions using methods that are not random.
Operations research
A scientific approach that is part of systems engineering using mathematical tools such as optimization, simulation and queuing theory to solve complex problems.
Patient-reported outcomes
Capturing how patients perceive their health and health care.
Point-of-care system
Tools (often electronic) used by a patient care provider during an encounter with a patient to document the visit, enter notes, order tests, schedule visits, and so on, for that patient.
Predictive analytics
A research method that finds relationships in data that can be used to predict future probabilities and trends.
Prospective cohort studies
Studies that, over time, track groups of similar individuals or cohorts who differ with regard to certain factors of interest to assess the extent to which certain outcomes differ by, and because of, such factors.
Qualitative research
A broader term referring to a set of research methodologies that aims to understand the viewpoint and values of participants through anthropological, field, ethnographic, naturalistic or participant observer research.
Randomized controlled trial
Study in which the individuals (or other units) followed were definitely or possibly assigned prospectively to one of two (or more) alternative forms of health care using random allocation (by chance alone).
Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP)
A research infrastructure system that links together nearly all of the medical records of the residents of Olmsted County, Minn., for approved medical research. This infrastructure makes it possible to conduct population-based descriptive, case-control, historical and prospective cohort, and cross-sectional research studies of most diseases and medical conditions.
Retrospective analyses
Analysis of existing data to explore factors that led to a particular outcome.
Shared decision-making
Clinicians and patients use the best available evidence when faced with the task of making decisions. Patients are supported to deliberate about the possible attributes and consequences of options and arrive at informed preferences in determining the best action. This approach respects patient autonomy and is ethical and legal.
Social determinants of disease
Social determinants of disease include factors in the physical (such as places to exercise and access to health care) and social (such as social support and meaningful connections) environment that influence health outcomes.
Socio-technical
How a human interacts with a technology (for example, with a computer).
Stepped wedge cluster randomized trial
A type of randomized controlled trial in which randomization occurs at the group level rather than the individual level and the intervention is sequentially rolled out to groups over time.
Surgical outcomes
The study of the quality of surgical care and experience of patients after their surgery is completed, such as the complications they might experience (such as infection), whether they are discharged to their home or another facility, and survival rates following the procedure.
Surgical and clinical access
Access, in the context of health systems engineering, refers to the ability of a patient to obtain an appointment with a provider.
Systematic review
A study design in which all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria is collated in order to answer a specific research question.
Systems engineering
An engineering approach to solve problems involving the entirety of a complex system (from the beginning to the end of a care process).
Translational research
An integral part of biomedical research that translates laboratory findings to clinical practice and vice versa — from clinical observations back to the laboratory for further testing, providing better services to patients and providers based on clinical and biological data. Also called "bench to bedside and back."