There remain many unanswered questions about how to develop and maintain well-functioning health systems. Understanding what makes some health systems function well while others do poorly is essential for making evidence-based decisions. There is a great need to promote development of new methodologies and better tools for research on health systems.
Health systems research needs to generate evidence that is of direct use to policymakers as they move towards universal coverage. Priority research areas include how to boost human resources and implement sustainable health financing systems; how to increase the use of effective healthcare methods and reduce ineffective ones, such as indiscriminate use of antibiotics and injections; and how to increase access to and use of health information.
Most health systems research to date has tended to be context-specific, which limits its application in other settings. Rigorous quantitative research is needed to provide an evidence base for reforming health systems. Translating this knowledge into action will be key to improving health.
Health systems research
- Department of Research Policy & Cooperation
- WHO Regional Office for Africa - Health Systems Research
- European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
- Pan American Health Organization - World Summit on Health Research: The health research necessary to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
- Research Policy and Cooperation