As part of the Community Tracking Study (CTS), the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) studies how local health systems are changing through site visits to 12 randomly selected U.S. communities. Since 1996, researchers have visited the 12 communities approximately every two years to conduct in-depth interviews with leaders of the local health system. HSC explores how the organization, financing and delivery of health care have been changing, and the impact of these changes on people. Researchers interview representatives of local hospitals, health plans, physician organizations, safety-net providers, employers, key government agencies, policy-makers and consumer groups.
The 12 CTS sites are nationally representative, which allows researchers to identify national trends in health care delivery and financing. Cross-site analyses on the special study topics and other trends uncovered through the visits are published as HSC Issue Briefs, Research Briefs and peer-reviewed journal articles. The site visit information also provides HSC with a general foundation on how local health care markets are changing, which allows researchers to respond to formal and informal requests from policy-makers and the media.