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Health Services Research: Opportunities for an Expanding Field of Inquiry: An Interim Statement “applied” research. For applied research, the committee holds that findings from health services research needs to be used in health care settings if they are to be of value to the health services consumer. Thus, a question not raised directly by AHCPR but regarded by the committee as being quite significant to the questions it did ask is, How can managers and practicing clinicians in today 's and tomorrow's health care settings be better prepared to understand and apply the questions, methods, and findings of health services research? Decisionmakers need to know that measurement is key to management. In short, in addressing the training and educational need for health services research, it may be necessary also to consider how to reinforce among other decisionmakers the importance and utility of the field. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS Health services research deals in a nitty-gritty, data-based way with myriad issues requiring decisions that profoundly affect even the most intimate aspects of the health and health care of individuals and populations. By dealing with objectives, processes, and outcomes, health services research formalizes information about questions that policymakers, clinicians, managers, and patients face every day. The tools of health services research—and its track record since it first was identified as a field in the late 1960s—provide a rational basis for making decisions that would otherwise likely still be made intuitively—perhaps correctly, perhaps not. The committee underscores the fascinating future of this growing, essential field, and the field's central role in providing guidance to an industry that now consumes one-seventh of the nation's gross domestic product. In its final report, the committee will address ways in which the public and private sectors might contribute, through opportunities for training, to the further development of this significant research enterprise.
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