Health services research is a type of scientific research — like basic science research and clinical research — that focuses on the health states of individuals or populations of individuals. This multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation studies how health systems, health practices, health interventions, health policies, and health factors impact health outcomes for patients of all demographic backgrounds. Health services scientists conduct research to identify and implement the most effective mechanisms to organize, finance, and deliver high-quality care. The features that can influence health outcomes include:
- Organizational structure of the healthcare system
- Clinical processes of care
- Healthcare technology
- Social factors
- Financial systems
- Patient behaviors
- Health programs and policy
Health services research at UCLA spans many academic and clinical departments. Within the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, experts from a range of disciplines — including clinical medicine, public health, biostatistics, health economics, and behavioral science — collaborate in conducting research in five main areas: cancer prevention and control, health system quality improvement, value-based care, health equity and chronic liver disease.
- Cancer prevention and control — an effort to understand how to optimize the delivery of cancer care through the development of effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
- Health system quality improvement — focuses on improving the quality of care that is delivered within a health network or system.
- Health equity/health disparities — an effort to understand the unique health concerns of populations that face gaps in health and healthcare quality and to attain the highest level of health for all patients regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference and other demographic factors.
- Liver disease — looks to understand contributors to poor health outcomes for individuals with chronic liver disease and to improve outcomes for liver disease patients.
- Value-based care — focuses on how to reduce overuse and underuse of medical care to maximize the value of the care delivered to patients.