Supported by Kaiser Permanente, the report is informed by interviews conducted in 2014 and 2015 with more than 40 individuals in safety net hospitals, community health centers, public health departments, and relevant stakeholder organizations from around the country. In addition to highlighting high-priority evidence needs, the report explores the availability and use of data in safety net provider organizations, approaches to quality improvement in these organizations, and the extent to which safety net providers are interested and able to conduct research or evaluation projects.

"Learning from the experiences of front line providers in the safety net is a critical step toward guiding research that leads to better care," said Murray Ross, PhD, Vice President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Director, Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy. "Kaiser Permanente is proud to be a funder of AcademyHealth's Translation and Dissemination Institute." 

Key Findings:

  • Safety net providers generally see the value of research in helping inform decision-making, and they identify several areas where new or better evidence would be useful to them in the coming years, particularly research that: 
    • Identifies effective strategies for transitioning from fee-for-service payment to value-based payment models;
    • Explores the impact of coverage expansions under health reform on safety net providers’ finances and patients’ access to care; and
    • Helps providers implement effective interventions addressing patients’ non-medical needs.
  • Safety net providers regularly implement interventions aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of care, but seek better strategies to help them rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts.
  • While safety net providers differ in their interest and ability to conduct formal research projects, those who do engage in this work wish to be treated as partners in research studies involving their patients, data, or other resources.