Priority setting research and evaluation

Research projects investigating how priority setting and research evaluation can be used to make improvements to our healthcare systems and services.

Convergence study

This study documents the variability of general surgeons’ clinical judgements of priority for elective surgical patients at three hospitals in New Zealand. The study will investigate whether a structured feedback intervention, involving written feedback and peer discussion by surgeons of variable clinical judgements across their ranks, provokes a ‘convergence’ of priority judgements. It will also assess the impact, if any, on patients’ health-related quality of life should convergence in priority judgements occur.


Jackie Cumming

Pathways to care and outcomes for elective surgery: a prospective cohort study

This study is following for 18 months a cohort of approximately 2,800 patients considered for surgical referral by GPs. The study will identify patients receiving and not receiving surgery, exploring the reasons in each case, and auditing patients’ health care utilisation and health outcomes.

Fieldwork for the research commenced in 2004 and is almost complete. Analysis is now underway on referral patterns. Data collection will be completed in 2006 and following a full analysis, dissemination of the findings will begin.


Health Research Council of New Zealand, 2003-2006.

Principal Researcher and researchers

Dr Debbie McLeod, Department of General Practice, Wellington School of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Otago. Researchers: Antony Raymont, Jackie Cumming, Megan Pledger

Coronary artery bypass graft surgery—evaluation of the validity of the prioritisation score and the impact of waiting

This study is testing the predictive power of Clinical Priority Assessment Criteria (CPAC) scores (and components of scores), several serum bio-markers, total treadmill test times, and socioeconomic variables, and is assessing the costs of waiting for care.

Data collection is well underway and will continue in 2006.


Health Research Council of New Zealand, 2003-2006.

Principal Researchers and researchers

Dr Mary Seddon, Professor Rod Jackson, (School of Population Health, University of Auckland). Researchers: Jackie Cumming, Dale Bramley, Joanna Broad, Sue Crengle (University of Auckland), Elana Curtis, Patrick Graham (Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago), Terri Green (School of Management, Canterbury University), Ralph Stewart, Harvey White (University of Auckland).