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The Design of the Community Tracking Study:

A Longitudinal Study of Health System Change and Its Effects on People

Summer 1996
Inquiry, vol.33 (Summer 1996): 195-206
Peter Kemper

he Community Tacking Study is a major research project designed to address two questions:

  • How and why is the health system changing?
  • How and why are those changes affecting access to care, service delivery, cost and quality as perceived by patients and physicians?

These questions are addressed by studying individual markets over time. The study collects data through site visits and telephone surveys of households, physicians and employers in the same communities. Sixty study communities were selected randomly to be representative of the U.S. A random subset of 12 communities were selected for intensive case study through site visits and survey samples large enough for site-specific estimates. Data collection and analysis are planned in two-year cycles, which began in mid 1996.

Free access to this article is available at the Inquiry Web site.


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