Health Tracking

The Center for Studying Health System Change looks at a volatile health care environment

Dates of Program: October 1994 through October 2012

Description: The Center for Studying Health System Change, the core component of RWJF’s Health Tracking initiative, conducted seven rounds of site visits to 12 diverse communities, six rounds of household surveys, and five rounds of physician surveys to document and analyze how changes in the health care system played out for patients, doctors, and communities. The Center focused on providing policy-makers with timely, accurate information on which to base health care policy.

The Center produced a body of work that is excellent, uniformly high-quality, methodologically well-respected, careful, measured, and insightful in its conclusions.”—Robert Hughes, former RWJF vice president

Key Results

  • Attributing tangible policy changes to an initiative dedicated to providing timely information is difficult. There is widespread agreement, however, that the Center’s body of work contributed significantly to the nation’s responses to changes in our health care system.

    The Center’s work on the proliferation of specialty hospitals and its studies of access to care by Medicaid recipients helped to inform policy and federal legislation and earned the Center awards and citations. The Center was among the five organizations that bellwether interviewees identified as “top-of mind” resources on health policy, according to an evaluation of its communications activities.

“The Center developed a system of collecting data and information that shaped the way we think about health care markets.”—Jim Knickman, former RWJF vice president

The Center published 252 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 101 Community Reports, 28 Tracking Reports, 138 Issue Briefs, 87 Technical Publications, 22 Research Reports, 42 Research Briefs, 36 Data Bulletins, and 12 Commentaries.

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