Boston SOAR (Surgical Outcomes Analysis & Research) Initiative
Understanding the root causes of inequities in surgical care has long been a priority for the Department of Surgery at Boston Medical Center (BMC). As part of an urban, safety-net hospital serving a racially/ethnically diverse and largely economically disadvantaged patient population, the department is well-positioned to conduct surgical disparities research.
The Surgical Outcomes Analysis & Research (SOAR) initiative is focused on investigating inequities in care and on developing and evaluating measures designed to ensure that all patients have access to high-quality surgical care. SOAR was founded by BMC by Chair of Surgery Jennifer Tseng, MD, MPH, in 2007 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. A decade later, SOAR found its logical home at Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine, where it continues to grow.
Over the last decade, SOAR has conducted research projects that have examined delivery, quality, and financing of surgical care. The goal of this and other research by department faculty is to determine where improvements can be made to ensure that all patients, regardless of race or ethnicity, birthplace, or economic circumstances have equal access to high-quality surgical care, resulting in the best possible outcomes. The SOAR team utilizes national health service and administrative databases, as well as prospective institutional tissue-linked databases, to investigate and address factors contributing to healthcare disparities and disease outcomes. Decision analysis, which attempts to place a value on each decision made by the patient and physician, and comparative effectiveness modeling enable detailed comparisons of surgical options for specific diseases. Through this work, SOAR seeks to find the treatment modalities that will best optimize patient survival and quality of life.