Health Care Systems and Alliances Increasingly Have Research Groups

Survey of research initiatives within health systems

The Center for Health Management Research at Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., organized a project to study the nature and extent of research conducted by health care systems and alliances.

In June 1998, the center mailed a survey to the 295 health care systems and alliances included in the database of the American Hospital Association. The survey asked questions about research themes, funding, structure, operations and dissemination strategies. Response to the survey was only 22 percent, limiting its usefulness.

Key Findings

  • Approximately one-third of the responding organizations (22 out of 65) had an organized health services research program.

  • Of the 22 respondents with organized research programs, all but one were hospital systems.

  • The survey indicated substantial variability among the hospital systems in annual research budgets ($200,000 to $11 million).

  • The three most frequently reported areas of research within systems were:

    • Quality of outcomes and care.
    • Clinical protocols, pathways, and guidelines.
    • Use of services and facilities.
  • Respondents disseminated research results in many ways, personal contact being frequently noted. Several research departments reported cooperating with other organizations, including universities, non-university research centers, and other health systems and alliances.