Health Services Research in 2020

Over time, health services research has explored the issues and methods of the health care system. Originally cited by the first editor of Health Services Research as needing to communicate to the “numerous fields” of health services research (Spector 1966), a more cohesive field has emerged, blending several thought perspectives and interacting across disciplines. With the 50th anniversary of the health services research field approaching, this editorial articulates the roots of the field before turning to the future—and the workforce which will drive it.

This supplement, featuring articles discussing the workforce, were developed through a summit meeting of health services research stakeholders. Summit attendees discussed, analyzed and recommended future steps for health services research. The focus of the supplement is an envisioning of the health services field in 2020 and the workforce needs required to get it there.

The editors note that looking forward, the field must continue actively demonstrating its ability to solve practical problems. The interested parties include a wide swath of stakeholders. By answering questions that matter to both public and private decision-makers, health services research will continue to assert its important role toward 2020 and beyond.