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Your Gateway to Health Services Research

Posted by on April 1st, 2019 Posted in: Blog, PHDL Resources

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Health Services Research (HSR) identifies effective ways to organize, manage, finance, and deliver high quality health care while reducing medical errors and improving patient safety.

Health Services Research asks:

  • How people get access to care?
  • How much care costs?
  • What happens to patients as a result of care (the outcomes!)?
Chart of Public Health Function

10 Essential Public Health Services from the CDC

HSR informs almost every public health function, but it is primarily concerned with areas 9 and 10:

  • Evaluating effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal population based health services.
  • Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.

Your Public Health Digital Library has numerous books and journals contributing to HSR research.  Also included in the PHDL are links to HSR resources from the National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR).  NICHSHR works with related agencies to make results of research, practice guidelines and technology assessments more widely available to public health practitioners, policy makers, and others.



Here are  just three of their resources:

Health Services Research Information Central


HSRIC or HSR Information Central is a portal of HSR resources related to data, reports, discussion groups, podcasts, funding announcements, etc. NCHSR selectively includes resources based on their quality, authority, and uniqueness. Topics include: Aging Population Issues, Behavioral and Mental Health, Child Health Services Research, Community Benefit, Comparative Effectiveness, Health Disparities, Privacy and Security, Rural Health and others.

HSRProj or The Health Service Research Projects in Progress database of yet-to-be published research. The database gathers entries from investigators conducting health services research throughout the country.  Researchers, funders, and policymakers can identify up-to-the-minute research taking place and connect with their researchers. The database is available for download and can be searched on a snazzy map.

HSSR or Health Services and Science Research Resources organizes datasets, instruments, and software to examine and compare the tools.  The broad scope of this database includes Health Services Research, Behavioral and Social Sciences, and Public Health. The datasets contain clinical records, discharge summaries, claims, registries, facilities, and epidemiological, behavioral, and social surveys. Records are organized by:

  • Datasets – Files associated like a data,  a machine-readable codebook, SPSS control cards, and other files.
  • Instruments/Indices – A research instrument contains the survey or questions and its operational definitions of all measures.
  • Software – Program(s) used to develop databases, analyze and/or manipulate data.


All. In. One. Place. 

Your big takeaway here is NICHSR ONESearch.  NICHSR ONESearch is the one place to search for these and NICHSHR’s other tools. It’s available at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/onesearch.html  and it looks like this:

Screenshot of OneSearch

Screen shot of NICHSR OneSearch

We’ll save NICHSR’s other resources for another time.  But you should know there are other valuable resources within the NICHSR family of information tools.


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This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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