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About Health Services Research

According to AcademyHealth, health services research is “the multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and ultimately our health and well-being. Its research domains are individuals, families, organizations, institutions, communities, and populations.

“Another way to think about HSR is presented in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s definition, which was published in February 2002. It states that, ‘Health services research examines how people get access to health care, how much care costs, and what happens to patients as a result of this care. The main goals of health services research are to identify the most effective ways to organize, manage, finance, and deliver high quality care; reduce medical errors; and improve patient safety.’”

Visit the National Library of Medicine portal for Health Services Research & Public Health Information programs.

Visit the NLM’s HSR Information Central for links to the many different types of health services research

Minnesota Department of Health
The mission of the Minnesota Department of Health is to protect, maintain and improve the health of all Minnesotans. This site offers health statistics, information on health topics and programs, forms and applications and library resources.

Minnesota Department of Human Services
The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides health care, economic assistance and other services for people who do not have the resources to meet their basic needs. This site offers specific information about DHS priorities, core values and organization, a description of the department, service strategies, and contact names and phone numbers. Also, there is a DHS Newsroom feature that lists news releases, news tips, fact sheets and news articles about the department and its activities.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield has been providing health care to the people of Minnesota since 1933. This health plan offers different products, services, programs and provider networks. Visit this site to look for a health care plan for an individual or business, find a doctor in one of their networks and learn more about BCBS.

HealthPartners is a family of nonprofit Minnesota health care organizations focused on improving the health of its members, its patients and the community. HealthPartners is consumer-governed. HealthPartners and its related organizations provide health care services, insurance and HMO coverage to nearly 660,000 members. More than 9,200 employees staff the various HealthPartners organizations.

Allina HealthVillage Home and Medica
Allina Health System is a not-for-profit, integrated health care organization that operates through two divisions:

  • Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a network of 19 hospitals and 48 clinics, offers a wide range of inpatient, outpatient, medical transportation and home-based health care services.
  • Medica helps meet the health care coverage needs of more than one million members throughout Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and eastern North Dakota and South Dakota.

Mayo Health System
The Mayo Health System is a network of clinics and hospitals serving the healthcare needs of people in more than 60 communities in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Community-based physicians and their patients are supported by the highly specialized expertise and resources of Mayo Clinic. This partnership is dedicated to providing quality healthcare close to home. Visit this website to learn about Mayo Clinic locations, employment with Mayo Clinic and health information.

United Health Care and United Health Group
UnitedHealthcare designs and operates health benefits systems with commercial, Medicare and Medicaid products. Today, the company serves approximately 8.6 million individual consumers as members of its health service systems.

Park Nicollet
Park Nicollet Health Services is an integrated care system that includes Methodist Hospital, Park Nicollet Clinic, Park Nicollet Foundation and Park Nicollet Institute. The Park Nicollet family includes: 25 neighborhood Park Nicollet clinics, Methodist Hospital, five urgent care centers, 12 pharmacies, nine optical stores, two hearing aid centers, three home care product stores, refractive surgery center, family birthing center.

Fairview Health Services
Fairview Health Services is a provider network made up of hospitals: Fairview-University, Southdale, Ridges, Lakes, Northland, Red Wing, Range Clinics, as well as other services including emergency/urgent care, Institute for Athletic Medicine, laboratory guide, pharmacies, patient care programs, online birthplace, birth and family, classes and support groups and health information.

St. Mary’s/Duluth Clinic Health System
St. Mary’s/Duluth Clinic Health System is made up of 25 clinics, hospitals and specialty care facilities located in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. SMDC brings primary care, specialty services and medical technology to families in their own communities.

Stratis Health
Stratis Health was born on January 1, 1997, through the merger of the Foundation for Health Care Evaluation (FHCE) and the Health Outcomes Institute (HOI). The organization’s mission is to improve health services.

The Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research
The Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, a VA Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) Center of Excellence, is an interdisciplinary community of professionals conducting methodologically rigorous research intended primarily to improve the health care of veterans.

Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI)
The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI), a collaboration of healthcare organizations, is an objective voice dedicated to championing health care quality and to helping its members identify and accelerate the implementation of best clinical practices for their patients.

Minnesota Cancer Alliance
The Minnesota Cancer Alliance is a coalition of health care organizations, community-based groups and volunteers that evolved from collaborative efforts to create /Cancer Plan Minnesota/. Founded in 2005, the Alliance was formed to support and implement the plan.

MN Community Measurement
MN Community Measurement is Minnesota’s source for information on health care quality. Our web site offers quality comparisons among provider groups and clinics. As a consumer, you can use this information to make more informed choices and discuss the results with your doctor. Provider groups and clinics across the state are also using these results to improve the care they deliver.

Minnesota Council of Health Plans
The Minnesota Council of Health Plans is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to strengthening Minnesota’s position as the nation’s healthiest state.

Minnesota e-Health Initiative
The Minnesota e-Health Initiative is a public-private collaborative effort to improve healthcare quality, increase patient safety, reduce healthcare costs and enable individuals and communities to make the best possible health decisions by accelerating the adoption and use of health information technology.

Park Nicollet Institute
Park Nicollet Institute collaboratively engages in innovation, research, and education to improve the quality of health and health care and to inform public and private decisions on health, health care, and access to that knowledge and care. Among their projects, researchers at the Health Research Institute at the Park Nicollet Institute have been are conducting research on the impact of health based risk-adjustment.

Stratis Health
Stratis Health’s mission is to improve health services by gathering, analyzing, and reporting data on the performance of health services and applying itsfindings to help inform decision making. Stratis Health’s major contract is as Minnesota’s Medicare Peer Review Organization (PRO). Today, Stratis Health has a variety of efforts underway focusing on process and outcomes measurement.

  • What is health services research?
    Introduction to HSR is a course designed to provide an introduction to the issues and methodologies of health services research. This field of research cuts across multiple disciplines and relies heavily on the published literature. It requires quality filtering skills and the organization and analysis of large sets of data.
  • Where can I find information on health services research and statistics?
    The National Information Center on Health Services Research & Health Care Technology ”coordinates the development of information products and services related to health services research.” This site provides a guide to health services research databasesHSR websites, health technology assessments, and health services research projects. Finding and using statistics is a helpful course as well.
  • How do you do a health technology assessment?
    HTA101 – Introduction to Health Care Technology Assessment is an updated and expanded web version of a monograph prepared by Clifford S. Goodman for a technology assessment conference in 1995. It includes a discussion of the origins and fundamental concepts and issues of health care technology assessment (HCTA), basic steps in the practice of HCTA, suggested readings, and a glossary of HCTA terms.
  • Where can I find information on medical conditions?
    Medical and health information can be obtained from Medline Plus.

    Another way to access MEDLINE’s compilation of more than nine million citations in the medical literature is through PUBMED

  • What is managed care?
    managed care glossary describe all the acronyms and word used to describe managed care. Medscape’s managed care news provides current summaries of the literature on managed care.
  • Where can I search the medical literature? How can I review the scientific literature in the health sciences?
    MEDLINE’s compilation of more than nine million citations in the medical literature is through PUBMED provides a good starting point for searching the health care related literature. Indices from other areas which include some health related material include EconLit (Economics), PsycInfo (Psychology), and Sociological Abstracts (Sociology), ABI-Inform (business and social sciences), INSPEC (computer science and engineering) which can be accessed through the University of Minnesota Library (to obtain access to the indices, you will need to have a University of Minnesota account).

    “Health Sciences Literature Review Made Easy: The Matrix Method,” written by Judy Garrard, a HPM faculty member, can help you organize your literature review systematically. It gives a step-by-step approach for systematically reviewing the research literature in all of the health sciences, using many of the electronic databases such as MEDLINE, and setting up a reprint file. It is published by Aspen Publishers and can also be obtained at Amazon.

    The Evidence-based Medicine Resource Center provides access to the literature on evidence based medicine, which is “a methodology for evaluating the validity of research in clinical medicine and applying the results to the care of individual patients. Evidence is gathered through systematic review of the literature, and is critically appraised. The results are then integrated with physician/patient decision making.” The site supports the use of evidence based medicine by providing bibliographies, teaching materials for learning about evidence based medicine, and links to resources.

  • What are some portals for health policy issues?
    Duke University’s CyberExchange provides multiple ways of retrieving information about health policy. The site includes extensive directories of organizations active in health policy, descriptions of health policy areas, and links to many other health services and policy resources.

    Moving Ideas is the Policy Action Network’s links to health policy for general health and medicine, national health policy, state health policy, public health, consumer health, quality improvement and health information technology, managed care, health foundations, and health journals.

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