Definitions of Health Services Research
The field of health services research (HSR) has been defined in different ways by by many different organizations. In a nutshell, health services researchers investigate three major aspects of health care: access to care, the quality of the care, and its cost. Health services researchers attempt to evaluate the effects and outcomes of the health care "system" on people's health.
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. (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2002)
HSR is a multi-disciplinary field of inquiry, both basic and applied, that examines access to, and the use, costs, quality, delivery, organization, financing, and outcomes of health care services to produce new knowledge about the structure, processes, and effects of health services for individuals and populations. (The Institute of Medicine, 1994)
The scientific study of the effect of health care delivery and management on health care access, quality, and cost. (National Library of Medicine (NLM) Collection Development Manual.
HeRISA’s Take on Health Services for Somali Americans
As described above, 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 – Somali-Americans in this context.
In 2005, the Minnesota Legislature directed the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish a performance reporting and quality improvement system for medical groups that provide health care services to patients insured through Minnesota Health Care Programs. However, the reports lack granularity as race and ethnicity are not shown thus anyone examining the data and reports very closely for certain groups is unable to do so. HeRISA endeavored finding the word “Somali” in the reports published by MN Community measurement and almost all of the reports lack this word and therefore hard to be gleaned any information specific for Somali-Americans from them.
HeRISA also tried obtaining more information on the health services the Somali-Americans received from the medical groups. HealthPartners was one group that constantly published reports that are publicly available. However, their reports too have not shown much information on race and ethnicity breakdown and without that HeRISA was not able to find how Somali-Americans have accessed and utilized health care services provided by HealthPartners.
HeRISA and its team are willing to take part in our endeavors to study health services data collected by state agencies and medical groups very closely in order to understand what is happening at the utilization level that may subsequently contribute to the health disparities that Somali-Americans are facing.