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Article Title

Defining Information Needs for Public Health Systems and Services Research Information Needs for Public Health Systems and Services Research

Abstract

Background: People who lead or manage public health agencies have multiple needs for information in order to do their jobs effectively. In seeking to investigate “what works” in public health practice, investigators in the field of public health systems and services research (PHSSR) have largely overlapping information needs but often require a greater detail, specificity, or comprehensiveness than is routinely available in public health data systems.

PHSSR Data Needs Meeting: On April 24, 2014, the PHSSR Center of the University of Kentucky and AcademyHealth convened a 1-day meeting of public health practitioners and PHSSR investigators to identify PHSSR information needs. Meeting participants considered data needs for three PHSSR domains: the organization of public health agencies and services, the use of rapidly evolving health information technologies, and the financing and economic evaluation of public health activities.

Future Data Needs: Identifying data needs in these and other PHSSR domains requires clarification of research questions, consideration of research methods, a balance of imagination and practicality, and investments to extend the information captured in existing administrative, financial, and population health monitoring systems.