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Health Services Research


The platform Charité Health Services Research connects research activities of affiliated research networks, clinics and institutes. The main goals of the platform are to

  • promote more effective use of resources and facilitate synergies
  • enhance the visibility of research results
  • educate about, share and further develop research methods
  • continually enhance the quality of health care and promote faster translation from research into practice

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Research topics

Ambulatory and Cross-sectoral Care

Cross-sectoral care - often referred to as integrated care - describes comprehensive connection of healthcare providers across institutions and sectors. The diverse professional groups work closely together to ensure a seamless, high-quality treatment process for individual patients. Cross-sectoral care encompasses the entire healthcare chain, including health promotion and disease prevention, ambulatory and in-patient care, rehabilitation services and, if necessary, palliative care. These services are complemented by psychosocial care and community services.

In this respect, health services research aims to identify care processes which best ensure seamless transitions between different sectors of the health care system, avoiding loss of information and waste of resources, for example through duplicate diagnostic procedures. Health services research also analyses which services are best performed by which health care profession in guiding patients through the necessary diagnostic and treatment steps, ensuring optimal use of limited resources in the healthcare system

Vulnerable Populations and People with Chronic Conditions

Germany is no exception when it comes to social inequality in health care. The platform Charité Health Services Research examines which socioeconomic, psychosocial, cultural, or institutional factors contribute to the existing differences in access to and utilization of health care services. 

In particular, very old persons, those with a migration background or persons with insufficient health literacy are often unaware of their social security benefits and have limited access to social services, health education, and health care providers. Multimorbidity, as well as functional limitations associated with chronic conditions, further complicate optimal care. For these individuals, transitions between health care sectors, as well as a continuous, coordinated long-term treatment which requires a continued adherence can be particularly problematic.

In order to improve the health care of vulnerable groups and chronically ill individuals, it is necessary to identify the specific access barriers and gaps in the healthcare process. This can only be achieved through interdisciplinary research, involving different perspectives (patients, service providers, health insurance stakeholders) and the use of quantitative as well as qualitative methods.

Emergency and Acute Medicine

Emergency care in Germany is provided by various services: In addition to the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and hospital-based care in Emergency Departments (EDs), this also includes emergency services of the Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and of the private health care sector.

Recently, there has been an overall increase in the use of EDs and EMS, as well as a rise in the number of patients with multiple chronic diseases, non-urgent treatment needs and psychological or social emergencies.

Health services research around emergency and acute medical care examines data  regarding the actual frequency of attendance of emergency care services as well as the  causes for growing demand in such services, both from the patients‘ and the system‘s viewpoints.

Another goal is to improve the quality of emergency care. This is ensured by focusing on several aspects:

  • demand-oriented adaptation of the provided care,
  • creating networks of service providers,
  • standardizing and optimizing the processes in cross-sectoral emergency care,
  • development and implementation of evidence-based care interventions

Telemedicine and Digital Health

Telemedicine is the practice of healthcare via information and communications technology. It is applied both in doctor-doctor and doctor-patient communication to support diagnostic, therapy and rehabilitation processes, as well as to provide medical advice. The key feature of telemedicine is that the medical or psychosocial service can be provided remotely and both synchronous (live) as well as asynchronous. In this context, “Digital care” or “eCare” describes the use of technologies in a doctor-patient information exchange. Examples of such interaction include medical consultation via videophone or webcam (teleconsultation) and remote patient supervision (telemonitoring).

Health services research examines how feasible and accepted this type of medical care appears to be in everyday life. Additionally, it analyzes the cost-effectiveness and quality of the provided telemedical services.

Preventive Healthcare

Prevention is an important goal at all levels of healthcare and thus an explicit as well as implicit subject of health services research. Various medical and therapeutic healthcare settings (e.g., outpatient medical practices, nursing facilities, but also clinics) are suitable for introducing patients to behavioral preventive measures. Optimizing the utilization and delivery of healthcare can also serve to prevent hospitalizations and prevent or delay more severe courses of disease. Several health services research projects at Charité are investigating what optimal prevention in health care can look like, which preventive approaches serve to maintain health or stabilize health conditions, how these can be effectively and efficiently integrated into the different health care contexts, and how specific groups of the population can be best reached.


COVID-19 challenges healthcare systems across the world in unique ways. On the one hand, intensive inpatient care needs to be ensured, often at a high cost in terms of hygiene and staff protection. On the other hand, this new viral disease is currently instigating a whirlwind activities to related to diagnostics, risk stratification methods, as well as preventive (vaccine) measures and therapies.

Health services researchers are involved in these endeavors by

  • analyzing how this pandemic affects local healthcare in all sectors and different diseases
  • studying the characteristics of, largely, ambulatory patients with COVID-19, and their utilization of healthcare in pandemic times
  • analyzing the short. and long-term consequences of the pandemic for health care systems and healthcare policy

Research Networks

Innovation Fund Projects

Other projects (selection)

Here you will soon find a selection of our ongoing health services research projects.

An overview is already available on our German website.