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Improving the Quality of Health Care for Mental and Substance-Use Conditions
With respect to the above recommendation for the creation of research partnerships between researchers and stakeholders, the committee took note of some research–community partnerships already under way that can serve as models. Two such partnerships are described below.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Integrated Delivery System Research Network
In 2000, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) initiated the Integrated Delivery Systems Research Network (IDSRN) as a field-based research strategy to link the nation’s top researchers with some of the largest health care systems for the conduct of research on cutting-edge issues in health care on an accelerated timetable. IDSRN was developed to capitalize on the research capacity of and opportunities occurring within integrated delivery systems. The network creates, supports, and disseminates scientific evidence on what does and does not work in terms of data and measurement systems, organizational best practices related to care delivery, and diffusion of research results. It also provides a cadre of delivery-affiliated researchers and sites to test ways of adapting and applying existing knowledge. Each of the nine IDSRN partners has three unique attributes that make it particularly suited for time-sensitive research projects:
Data availability—IDSRN partners collect and maintain administrative, claims, encounter, and other data on large populations that are clinically, demographically, and geographically diverse.
Research expertise—IDSRN partners include some of the country’s leading health services researchers, with proficiency in quantitative and qualitative methodologies and expertise in emerging delivery system issues.
Management authority to implement a health care intervention—IDSRN partners have responsibility for managing delivery systems and are in a position to implement financial and organizational strategies with an evaluation component.
From 2000 through 2004, AHRQ’s commitment totaled nearly $20 million for 75 IDSRN projects (AHRQ, 2002). Although IDSRN is a model of a research network involving large, technologically rich health care organizations, it is instructive in considering how to develop a research network for M/SU health care. Many managed behavioral health care organizations have similar capacity with regard to data availability, research expertise, and management authority. Some already engage in partnerships with research organizations to address questions pertaining to such issues as utili-