Health Services Research

What is Health Services Research?

Graph of Trends in US emergency care 1994-2004

Health services research is defined by questions and work, not discipline or disease. Health services researchers address a wide range of issues, including consumer education; patient outcomes and effectiveness of care; health care quality and patient safety; patient centered care; health care for minorities, children, elderly individuals, and other special populations; and health care access, utilization, cost, and financing. These issues are addressed from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches, including:

  • Clinical fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, and allied health
  • Social and behavioral sciences
  • Human factors engineering
  • Epidemiology and biostatistics
  • Multidisciplinary perspectives from health care policy, research, administration, and management

Health services researchers investigate how various factors—including social forces, financing mechanisms, organizational processes and structures, evolving health technologies, and individual behavior—act separately and together to affect the delivery of health care and, ultimately, the health and well-being of individuals. They pursue careers in many settings, including academia, professional organizations, health policy groups, clinical settings, and in Federal, State, and local agencies. Findings and products that result from health services research enable providers, patients, insurers, employers, and other purchasers and policymakers to make better health care decisions. They also can be used to improve the design of health care benefits, develop new policies to optimize the way we finance and pay for care, facilitate access to health care services, and improve patient outcomes (Source: www.AHRQ.gov).

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Karen C. Johnson, M.D., M.P.H., Interim Chair

Department of
Preventive Medicine
66 N. Pauline Street, Suite 633
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: 901-448-5900