Health Services Research, Overview
Health services research (HSR) studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, technology, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the costs and quality of health care, and the health and well-being of individuals and populations. HSR, a boundary-crossing field, engages a very wide set of clinical and academic disciplines; investigates a broad array of questions relating to health care delivery and management, financing, clinical practice, personal health care decision-making, and health policy; and employs virtually all quantitative and qualitative methods found in the social sciences, economics, outcomes measurement, management and administration, epidemiology and statistics, law, and policy analysis. It has one major professional organization, AcademyHealth, and is supported in the United States in large measure by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, certain other federal agencies, and various private-sector entities and philanthropic organizations. Numerous journals exclusively or predominantly publish on HSR-related topics.