This article introduces a special issue of Health Services Research that is focused on the health care data issues and infrastructure discussed at the 2009 AcademyHealth Summit on Health Services Research. The field of health services research is expected to expand rapidly with the implementation of health care reform and growth of new health information technology. The author provides a review of the health services research field, describes recent changes to the data environment and discusses options to increase the accessibility and quality of health services data.
The field of health services research faces rapid changes and an abundance of new sources of data to study. This paper and the entire special issue of Health Services Research outline issues faced by the field and techniques to improve the body of knowledge generated by health services research.