David Cella, a pioneer researcher who has spent his career focused on improving patient outcomes, received the annual Gustav O. Lienhard Award Monday from the National Academy of Medicine.
Cella, chair of the department of medical social sciences and director of the Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, developed tools to report patient conditions and outcomes that are used today by many health systems, according to a news release.
Cella's work helped transform the patient's role in the care process by emphasizing their quality of life and how it can guide their treatment options.
His research included conducting in-depth interviews in 1985 with cancer patients that focused on their personal lives in order to design questionnaires used to understand how treatment affected them. At the time Cella began the research, it was uncommon to ask oncology patients how they felt about their care.
Cella was also the first researcher to use item response theory in health measurement to accurately assess patients' symptoms and their perceptions of their health and well-being.
He also developed a score approach that allowed many patient-reported outcomes to be compared.
The Gustav O. Lienhard Award was established in 1986 and recognizes individuals who have improved the healthcare system. The honor comes with $40,000 and a medal.
The recipient is selected by a committee appointed by the National Academy of Medicine. Formerly known as the Institute of Medicine, the not-for-profit organization advises the U.S. and other nations alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.