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Health service research is a multispecialty field that involves scientific research of how social factors, economic factors, organization structures and methods, technology, and behavior affects several aspects of the services provided by the healthcare system including access, quality of care, cost of care, and the outcome on health and well-being.

Several parties are involved in the health service research including the individual, family, organization, government, institutions, communities, etc.

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Clinical research is patient-oriented research conducted in controlled conditions in a clinical set up on human subjects or material derived from human subject.  The clinical researchers would be communicating with the subjects to determine how the disease is caused and better/safer means of diagnosing and treating it.

It may be aimed at testing a newer and a more effective drug or to find the efficacy of a new treatment method.  Clinical research would first be conducted on animals, and once its safety is proven, it would be tested on human beings.

Usually the process of drug testing is done in three phases.  Phase one involves determining the drug safety, phase two involves determining the drug efficacy, and phase three involves testing the drug on several hundreds or thousands human beings.

2. Identify a health services research question relevant to your area of practice.

The health services research question would be concerning the possibility of forming collaborative programs to manage diseases in the federally qualified health clinics.  The main aim of this collaborative effort is to eliminate the existing problems, increase satisfaction levels and to improve the delivery of healthcare to the public.

The area of focus under consideration would be clinical, financial and operational.  Some of the diseases and issues under which collaborative programs can be formed include asthma, business management, cancer prevention, screening & treatment, depression, oral healthcare, patient safety, better drug use, prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes management, transplant development, etc.

The people are trying to obtain better quality of healthcare at reduced rates.  Besides, the patient outcome needs to be good so that the satisfaction levels are also high.

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Healthcare also needs to be more accessible to the various communities that exist in a particular population.  A good research question would be “Access to healthcare – How can it be improved through fruitful collaborations between the healthcare organizations, government and the educational institutions?”

3. Identify a research design that would best answer the question.

One of the research designs which are suitable for this study would be review of literature.  Several online databases can be searched of information of how collaborations between the healthcare organizations, government and the educational institutions have worked in the past.  Some of the databases which can be searched include Cochrane, Pubmed, BMJ, Medline, E-Medicine and MD Consult.

The user would have to perform an advanced search using highly specific search strings and Boolean operators.  The type of article that could be utilized for this study includes practice guidelines, RCT and reviews.  The journals which could be searched include nursing journals, dental journals, medical journals, core clinical journals, health administration journals, public health journals, etc.

The user should search for journals published within the last 5 to 10 years, as older journals would be focusing on rather outdated concepts that may not be acceptable in the future.  This would be a quasi-experimental study as it would be involving random assignment, but having comparisons between organizations having no collaborations and organizations having collaborations with governmental and educational institutes.

References:

Academy Health (2002). What is Health Services Research?, Retrieved on September 29, 2008, from Academy Health Web site: http://www.academyhealth.org/about/whatishsr.htm

Center Watch (2008). Background Information on Clinical Research, Retrieved on September 29, 2008, from Center Watch Web site: http://www.centerwatch.com/patient/backgrnd.html

HRSA (2008). Health Disparities Collaborative, Retrieved on September 29, 2008, from HRSA Web site: http://www.healthdisparities.net/hdc/html/home.aspx

Social Research Methods (2006). Types of Designs, Retrieved on September 29, 2008, from HRSA Web site: http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/destypes.php

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