Health Services Research: Work Force and Educational Issues

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Health services research is a multidisciplinary field that investigates the structure, processes, and effects of health care services. This report focuses on one part of the field of health services research--its work force and its programs for educating and training that work force. This study undertook the following information collection activities: (1) a survey of directors of health services research training programs in the United States and Canada; (2) creation of a database of health services researchers in the United States; and (3) telephone interviews or panel discussions with key individuals in state governments, managed care organizations, hospital systems, consulting firms, and other nonacademic organizations. One of the first findings was that existing data on the size and characteristics of the health services research work force are fragmentary and incomplete. Recommendations are made to update and extend the database created for this study, to survey those with doctorates in health services, and to investigate the career paths and productivity of those who receive trainee grants or fellowship awards. Findings on work force supply and demand, training programs, and the need for future health services research are also included. Appendices provide additional information on: the new database on the health services research work force, the survey of educational programs, and multistate life table methodology. (Contains 77 references.) (CK)

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