Health Systems Respond to COVID-19: Priorities for Rapid-Cycle Evaluations

Health Systems Respond to COVID-19: Priorities for Rapid-Cycle Evaluations

This report focuses on information needs of the health care and community organizations engaged in the COVID-19 response. The report is intended to inform decision-making of federal and foundation funders of health services research to guide investments in responsive research.

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While it may be hard to even consider an agenda for evaluation and learning given the urgency and human toll of the pandemic, health system leaders and researchers must use appropriate and rigorous methods, reliable data, and realistic assumptions to learn quickly from each other about what is working and what is not.

Based on the input of dozens of leading experts from health care systems, patient-representative groups, policy research organizations, professional associations, and government agencies, the report outlines rapid-cycle evaluation priorities in the following six categories:

  • Patient and community experience, engagement, and outcomes;
  • Care delivery, management, decision-making, and operations;
  • Workforce needs, training, and policies;
  • Technology, data, and telehealth;
  • Policies, including payment policy; and
  • Collaboration and coordination

The research questions presented here speak to the strengths and relevance of HSR as a field in this time of upheaval and opportunity. What works? For whom? Under which circumstances? The prioritized questions also underscore the growing need for, and role of, research that is partnered with or even embedded in health systems to be able to quickly produce reliable answers to pressing questions. This priority agenda from leaders in health systems and patient experience can shape a coordinated, intentional funding strategy to build the evidence base health systems need.