Publication Date



learning health system, health services research, health care


The 23rd annual conference of the Health Care Systems Research Network (HCSRN, formerly the HMO Research Network) was held in San Diego, California, March 21–23, 2017, attracting 387 attendees. As a consortium of 20 research organizations embedded in or affiliated with large health care delivery organizations, the HCSRN has held annual research conferences since 1994. The overall aim of the conferences is to bring researchers, project staff, research funders and other stakeholders together to share latest scientific findings and foster new research ideas and collaborations. The 2017 conference was hosted by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute.

Each host site takes responsibility for the content and structure of the conference, and the 2017 team introduced several new features. In particular, past conferences used concurrent sessions to present research results in different topical areas, such as chronic disease, cancer, health informatics, mental health or precision medicine. This year, concurrent sessions shifted to panel discussions about how research results were achieved, including the use of methods, partnerships and analytic approaches. The 35 panels were organized into tracks such as engagement, data and informatics, partnerships and research implementation. Scientific results from HCSRN projects were presented via 120 posters in two poster sessions. Plenary sessions included a town hall-style panel with different funding agency representatives, an opening presentation on the range of opportunities and benefits to studying health systems, and a concluding presentation on how researchers can apply design thinking in their work.