Rochester, Minnesota




Mayo Clinic researcher Xiaoxi Yao, Ph.D., M.P.H., conducts health system-embedded patient-centered outcomes research and comparative effectiveness research. She leverages cutting-edge research methods using emerging data and technologies. Dr. Yao has been a lead investigator on National Institutes of Health (NIH) R21 and R01 grants and evaluating innovative health care delivery solutions. She has authored publications in leading clinical journals and her work translates to improved decision-making for patients, clinicians and health systems.

Focus areas

  • Pragmatic trials. Traditionally, new care delivery models and quality improvement programs would be implemented wholesale because they seem like a good idea, but in many studies, interventions with face validity might not improve care delivery and patient outcomes when evaluated rigorously. Dr. Yao's team has conducted numerous learning health system-embedded digitally enabled pragmatic trials to evaluate practice innovations.
  • Retrospective studies. Dr. Yao's team has used large health care databases, e.g., insurance claims and electronic health records, to conduct retrospective comparative effectiveness research to bridge the gap between routine practice and clinical trials, including examining trial generalizability and providing evidence for patients who would have been excluded from or underrepresented in clinical trials.
  • Machine learning. Dr. Yao's team has applied machine learning to comparative effectiveness research, so the models are not just predictive of outcomes, but also the clinical benefit comparing one intervention versus another, thereby supporting personalized treatment plans and shared decision-making.

Significance to patient care

Dr. Yao's scientific program serves as an unbiased evaluator of practice innovations and other medical interventions to accelerate learning health systems, in which internal data and experience are systematically integrated with external evidence, and that knowledge is put into practice. Her team compares two or more interventional options to address questions and outcomes important to patients, clinicians, and health systems to inform their decisions. The goal is to enable patients to receive higher quality, safer and more efficient care, and for health organizations to become better places to work.

Professional highlights

  • Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Scientific Director for Pragmatic Trials and Evaluation, Mayo Clinic, 2023-present.
  • Section head, Division of Health Care Delivery Research, Mayo Clinic, 2022-present.
  • Member, Advisory Committee, AcademyHealth Learning Health System Interest Group, 2019-present.
  • Grant reviewer, American Heart Association, 2019-present.
  • Grant reviewer, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), 2019-present.
  • Grant reviewer, National Institutes of Health, 2018-present.
  • Team Science Award, Artificial Intelligence Electrocardiogram team, Mayo Clinic, 2023.
  • Member, Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion Registry Research and Publications Subcommittee, National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR), 2020-2023.
  • Committee member, OptumLabs Research Review Committee, 2018-2021.
  • Member, Science and Quality Oversight Subcommittee, NCDR, 2019-2020.
  • Writing committee member, American Heart Association Scientific Statement on Device Detected Subclinical Atrial Fibrillation, 2019.
  • Merit in Authorship Award, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2018.
  • Early Career Best Science Award Abstract Poster Presentation, American Heart Association, 2018.
  • Young Investigator Award, American College of Cardiology, 2017.
  • Best New Investigator Podium Research Presentation, 21st Annual International Meeting, International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), 2016.


Administrative Appointment

  1. Senior Associate Consultant II-Research, Health Care Delivery Research, Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery
  2. Senior Associate Consultant II-Research, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Health Services Research
  2. Professor of Medicine


  1. Ph.D. - Health Services Management and Policy, Biostatistics Ohio State University
  2. MPH - Health Policy and Management Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
  3. BA - Economics Tsinghua University

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