McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Ron Goeree appointed new director of PATH

Published: August 25 , 2006
Ron Goeree
Ron Goeree, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

With the costs of health care continually spiraling upwards, governments are under increasing pressure to ensure taxpayers’ money is being spent in a cost effective manner that provides good value.

Ron Goeree, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, plays a key role in providing the Ontario government with the type of information needed to make decisions about health care spending. He has been appointed Director of the Program for Assessment of Technology in Health (PATH), a joint research program of McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

PATH conducts research to assess the costs and health benefits to patients of various health interventions ranging from pacemakers to diagnostic imaging to surgeries. The research is designed to help the province decide the most efficient and effective way to spend health care dollars, and is particularly important to the ministry of health’s new decision-making process for the funding of all non-drug health interventions, devices and services.

Goeree said that the ministry’s new systematic process will result in funding decisions that are based on solid evidence that identifies not only the cost of a new or existing service, but whether the benefits or outcomes provide good value for the money spent. The work of groups like PATH is essential to a more evidenced-based, decision-making process.

"The aim is to improve the health of Ontarians by making better use of scare resources," said Goeree.

For example, a recent research study into the effectiveness of different types of stents, a medical device used to keep coronary arteries open, resulted in a funding change that will save the government more than $20 million a year, said Goeree. That project examined two different types of stents, and showed that a newer, more expensive device being used was not as effective as previously thought for certain patient sub-groups.

The resulting savings will not be cut from health care, but re-invested into other needed services.

PATH was founded in 2003 by the late Bernie O’Brien, Goeree, and a team of researchers. O’Brien was the Director until his death in 2004.

Goeree received both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees at McMaster University. He is an associate member of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, and teaches in the Health Research Methodology program. He previously worked as research co-ordinator, health economics, in CE&B, and is also a faculty member with the Centre for Evaluation of Medicines at St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

His appointment as director of PATH was effective July 1. He has been acting director for the past year.

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