The ‘Three D’s’ Of Health Care: How Determinants And Data Are Creating Delivery Improvements

As our field converges on the nation’s capital for its annual gathering to present, debate, and learn about the changes in health care and health policy, the time is right to reflect on if and how this year’s conversations will be different than those of prior years. Health services research (HSR) is still focused on what works, for whom, and at what cost, but the context and specificity of the questions has evolved to leverage today’s opportunities and respond to new and persistent challenges. The needs of federal and state policymakers continue to be a prime focus for the field’s work while three dimensions have grown significantly: grappling with social determinants, exploiting new sources of data, and responding more effectively to health system leaders’ questions as they struggle to respond to myriad policy and market demands.
I’ve been calling these the “three D’s” of health care; determinants, data and delivery. These dimensions are also reflected in the membership of AcademyHealth and the content of our other events (the National Health Policy Conference and the Health Datapalooza, among others). Nearly half our members work outside of academic settings, many embedded within health care systems or in one of the many data analytics and consulting organizations that support care delivery.
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