It’s been a stated goal for years, but now it’s our mandate: Optum Care must be a learning health care system. What does that mean? We must cultivate an internal mechanism within our system designed to help us improve over time.
Optum Care Research and Innovation (OCRI) began as a passion project done off the sides of our desks. It has grown into a fully-fledged internal research support system, and points Optum Care towards undertaking research as an integral part of care delivery. We have so much to learn from the experience of our many talented clinicians.
Three types of research
1. Clinician trials
Clinical trials are easily recognized as the research process by which pharmaceuticals, procedural techniques and medical devices come to be approved by government agencies and brought to market.
The process is years to decades long. Beginning in a lab, investigating treatments to provide therapeutics, preventatives and curative medicines, this research is long in its conception and has potential for life-changing, and life-saving outcomes.
2. Health services research
This type of research aims at addressing design of care delivery. This work is often conducted in academia and funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers work in real time developing better methods of delivering health care, noting the influence of population health and social determinants of health and testing how better service can be achieved.
The establishment of the quadruple aim and our work to address it is carried out in this form of research.
3. Enterprise research
Enterprise research, the category where OCRI belongs, has emerged as having the potential to harness the power of care delivery organizations. It may encompass parts of both of the other two types of research.
We are a willing partner for other research units such as OptumLabs. We look for opportunities across business units to support the mission of Optum and UnitedHealth Group.