Since joining the HCSRN, I’ve attended a few conferences, introducing myself as the Executive Director of the “Health Care Systems Research Network.” In the ensuing moments, I watch the friendly but slightly quizzical reactions as people wonder if they should know what that is. I go on to say, “You might have known us as the HMO Research Network,” and instantly, the puzzled expressions give way to recognition and enthusiasm. This is a signal that we need to do more to get the word out about our name change, and also make sure that audiences understand the bedrock features of our Network.
In an ever more competitive research environment, visibility of the HCSRN is imperative. Our culture of collaboration, thoughtfully designed infrastructure, and longevity are among our greatest assets. To the extent we can show that our infrastructure and “embeddedness” produce higher quality research more efficiently, we can further distinguish ourselves and realize our founders’ aspiration to be the premier population-based resource for improving health and health care.
At the 2016 Annual Meeting, HCSRN Board Chair Jerry Gurwitz invigorated the room with his comment that the HCSRN knows how to “Get ‘stuff’ done.” (He may have put it a little more colorfully!) It was part compliment, but also part challenge, since he knows that we cannot become complacent. Can we demonstrate the ability to recruit study participants more quickly as a result of being part of health systems? Have our Subcontract or Data Use Agreement templates reduced project start-up time so that we can initiate science more quickly? These proof points are imperative, and my inbox is always open if you have examples along these lines. Or better yet, develop a panel presentation for the 2017 Conference to show your “Get S*** Done” chops.
We’ll be spreading the word about the HCSRN at conferences over the next several months, including Concordium, APHA, and hopefully others. Individually and collectively, we have great things to offer to all of our stakeholders—patients, health systems, fellow researchers, and policymakers—telling our story is key.