Mapping 2 Decades of Research in Health Services Research, Health Policy, and Health Economics Journals

Academic Article


  • Objective: To identify major research topics and exhibit trends in these topics in 15 health services research, health policy, and health economics journals over 2 decades. Data Sources: The study sample of 35,159 abstracts (1999-2020) were collected from PubMed for 15 journals. Study Design: The study used a 3-phase approach for text analyses: (1) developing the corpus of 40,618 references from PubMed (excluding 5459 of those without abstract or author information); (2) preprocessing and generating the term list using natural language processing to eliminate irrelevant textual data and identify important terms and phrases; (3) analyzing the preprocessed text data using latent semantic analysis, topic analyses, and multiple correspondence analysis. Principal Findings: Application of analyses generated 16 major research topics: (1) implementation/intervention science; (2) HIV and women's health; (3) outcomes research and quality; (4) veterans/military studies; (5) provider/primary-care interventions; (6) geriatrics and formal/informal care; (7) policies and health outcomes; (8) medication treatment/therapy; (9) patient interventions; (10) health insurance legislation and policies; (11) public health policies; (12) literature reviews; (13) cost-effectiveness and economic evaluation; (14) cancer care; (15) workforce issues; and (16) socioeconomic status and disparities. The 2-dimensional map revealed that some journals have stronger associations with specific topics. Findings were not consistent with previous studies based on user perceptions. Conclusion: Findings of this study can be used by the stakeholders of health services research, policy, and economics to develop future research agendas, target journal submissions, and generate interdisciplinary solutions by examining overlapping journals for particular topics.
  • Published In

  • Medical Care  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zengul FD; Oner N; Ozaydin B; Hall AG; Berner ES; Cimino JJ; Lemak CH
  • Start Page

  • 264
  • End Page

  • 272
  • Volume

  • 60
  • Issue

  • 3