Health Care Research has been defined as “ the multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care and ultimately our health and well-being. Its research domains are: individuals, families, organizations, institutions, communities and populations”. As such HCR is outcome-oriented (on the patient, health care provider, institutions and health system level), multidisciplinary and patient-oriented. HCR aims to describe, explain, design/ model, evaluate processes, evaluate efficacy/efficiency. According to this research methods used in HCR are very diverse (assessment of qualitative and quantitative data, analyses of primary- and secondary data, systematic reviews, from experimental to descriptive study designs).
HCR research at DZNE aims to cover the whole spectrum of HCR and on the 26th of November 2012 the research group “interventional health care research (IHCR)” was established. Its research agenda is focused on the development and evaluation of interventions with population impact and their implementation into routine care. This was aimed at conducting as well as participating in intervention studies close to routine care, scientific analyses and monitoring of implementation processes.
With such a focus it is complimentary to already existing research groups at the DZNE site Rostock/ Greifswald (translational health care research, Prof. W. Hoffmann, clinical dementia research, Prof. S. Teipel) and at the DZNE site Witten (intervention strategies, Dr. M. Halek; intervention structures, Dr. B. Holle). A close cooperation within these research groups is necessary and was established. Methods used in the research group are interventional studies, analyses and monitoring of implementation processes. IHCR has developed a distinct research agenda covering pressing issues in dementia care, which are:
- Timely diagnosis of dementia
- Optimizing treatment and care in primary care on the individual level
- Access, availability and quality of health care
- Caregiver burden and support
The four research lines focus on interventions tackling the most relevant targets in primary care. First of all procedures/ interventions need to be found to identify patients. Then there need to be effective interventions those patients can benefit from. Moreover, interventions are needed that target caregivers as well. Last not least, the health care system providing effective interventions needs to be developed and analyzed to be most effective. We have found effective interventions, but for translation into routine care adaptions and implementation studies are needed.