1. Issel, L. Michele PhD, RN, Editor-in-Chief

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A new editor brings new vision to a journal. HCMR has been blessed with talented editors and a devoted publisher, making my transition into the role delightfully smooth. Readers and authors of HCMR, thus, may be curious about where I intend to steer the journal. My goals are predictable: to bring new readers to HCMR and increase the ranking of HCMR among academic journals. Accomplishing theses goals requires passion, vision, and commitment. Let me share where my passions and vision intertwine.


First, I see HCMR as a venue for facilitating research-based practice. These buzzwords reveal the more difficult task of understanding how to do that. It is not sufficient to have sound or inventive research, nor is it acceptable to nibble away at problems that are symptoms rather than the etiology. Researchers, particularly health services researchers, have a responsibility to keep in mind the end users, namely, health administrators, managers, practitioners, and policy makers. This is an ethical responsibility that is often glossed over or neglected. Borrowing from Patton,1 end users need utilization-focused research that facilitates initiating and engaging in the complicated, intricate, and deep changes suggested by so many research findings. In keeping with the research-into-practice focus, manuscripts accepted for publication in HCMR must pay attention to the end users of the research.


Second, it is a profound disgrace that more per capita is spent on health care in the United States than any other developed nation,2 yet the United States ranks near the bottom of developed nations3 across major health status indicators. Why? Among the numerous likely answers is the possibility that we have not taken to heart our own advice about what works, what does not work, and what could work. In other words, we have not put into practice the knowledge we so carefully crafted study by study. This obviously relates to my first passion. But another possible explanation is that, in our efforts to have healthy bottom lines, we forget that our health care system and organizations exist as conduits between the healer and the sick. HCMR straddles attention to a healthy bottom line and health effects. These 2 outcomes are interdependent, not mutually exclusive. Our research and managerial practice ought to make a difference in the lives of those served. To this end, authors need to explicate that interdependence in ways that keep with the enduring foci on organizational and system performance, outcome indicators, and health status.


Research usability and health outcomes focus are hallmarks for HCMR. Readers of HCMR can expect information consistent with those hallmarks. Future authors in HCMR will be asked to push those in new and powerful directions.


On a more practical note, in the year ahead, I envision an evolution in the content and structure of HCMR. The most immediately visible change will be the addition of an annual call for manuscripts on a special topic. This mechanism will help keep HCMR content on the forefront of health services research and practice. The first of such calls will be announced in the next issue. I would also like to see increased communication and debates between researchers and practitioners. The changes will be gradual and demonstrate the connections among my passions, vision, and commitment to keeping HCMR a highly valued journal.


L. Michele Issel, PhD, RN






1. Patton, M.Q. Utilization-Focused Evaluation: The New Century Text, Third Edition. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications, 1997. [Context Link]


2. Reinhardt, U.E., Hussey, P.S., and Anderson, G.F. "U.S. health care spending in an international context." Health Aff 23, no. 3 (2004): 10-26. [Context Link]


3. OECD health data 2005. Available at:,02340,en_e8285_495642_2085200_1_1_1_1,00.html. Accessed July 25, 2005. [Context Link]