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Health services research.

Schäfer T, Gericke C, Busse R
In: Ahrens W, Pigeot I (eds.) Handbook of Epidemiology. 2nd Ed. Heidelberg-New York: Springer, p. 837-902




After a brief introduction into the general field of health services research, a large section deals with the specific issues arising when epidemiological or statistical methods are used to study health services. This is followed by sections describing the main fields of investigation which are usually thought of as pertaining to the wider realm of health services research. These are studies of demand, need, utilization, and access to health services which have the interface between the patient and health services in common. The next section describes the importance of financial resources, structure, and organization for the delivery of effective and efficient health care. This is followed by a description of the processes and outcomes of health care, including concepts such as effectiveness and appropriateness of care and their use, for example, in physician profiling or in hospital rankings. In the section on outcomes, special emphasis is put on health status measurement and the evaluation of health systems in international comparisons. Important health economic concepts, such as cost-effectiveness and efficiency, are covered in various sections. This chapter concludes with describing common pitfalls and caveats in interpreting health services research.

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