Policy Matters  |   February 2016
The Use of Income, Education and Race Data in Health Services Research
Article Information
Practice Management / Advocacy and Legislative Issues / Quality Improvement / Policy Matters
Policy Matters   |   February 2016
The Use of Income, Education and Race Data in Health Services Research
ASA Monitor 02 2016, Vol.80, 14-16.
ASA Monitor 02 2016, Vol.80, 14-16.
Health services research has been defined as the multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that studies how “treatments” such as social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviors affect “outcomes” like access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and ultimately our health and well-being.1  That is, health services research examines how people get access to health care, how much care costs and what happens to patients as a result of this care.2  Much of health services research is based on the analysis of secondary datasets rather than randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The analysis of secondary data requires the specification of statistical models that incorporate many variables to adjust for differences in patient characteristics between “treatment” groups that, in an RCT, are assumed to be equal through random assignment. Most models include patient age and sex since these characteristics are important for clinical risk adjustment. Many models also include socioeconomic characteristics such as race, income and education.
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