The discipline of health services research, often loosely referred to as outcomes research, is primarily focused on the study of access to care, costs of care, and quality of care. Access to care includes everything that facilitates or impedes the actual use of medical services. Costs of care include financial and nonfinancial payments by insurers and individuals for medical services as well as the opportunity cost of lost wages and the societal cost of decreased productivity. Quality of care encompasses elements of the structure, process, and outcome of medical care.
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