Compendium of U.S. Health Systems, 2016, Technical Documentation

In 2015, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) created the Comparative Health System Performance (CHSP) Initiative to study how health care systems promote evidence-based practices in delivering care. AHRQ’s goal is to understand the factors that affect health systems’ use of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and to identify best practices in disseminating and using PCOR.

To achieve AHRQ’s goals, the initiative establishes three Centers of Excellence (CoEs), as well as a Coordinating Center to identify, classify, track, and compare health systems. AHRQ established CoEs at Dartmouth College, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and the RAND Corporation. Mathematica Policy Research serves as the initiative’s Coordinating Center, working collaboratively with AHRQ and the CoEs to facilitate synthesis of findings on comparative health system performance, build a compendium of U.S. health systems, and support dissemination of the CHSP Initiative findings broadly.

A key first step of the initiative is to identify and enumerate health systems. To achieve this objective, AHRQ has developed an initial list of U.S. health systems. This list consolidates information from several data sources, indicating system ownership and provider affiliations with systems and highlighting key system attributes. This consolidated list, referred to as the “list,” is intended to be an initial resource for researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders who want to identify and describe systems with the ultimate goal of understanding how health systems can improve the cost and quality of health care. The list forms the basis of the Compendium of U.S. Health Systems, which resides on AHRQ’s Web site and will be updated during the course of the initiative with additional resources to support research on health systems.

This document summarizes the approach taken to create the list. 


Page last reviewed January 2019
Page originally created September 2017
Internet Citation: Compendium of U.S. Health Systems, 2016, Technical Documentation. Content last reviewed January 2019. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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