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United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Fact Sheet
National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

The 1993 NIH Revitalization Act created a National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR) at the National Library of Medicine to improve "..the collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and dissemination of information on health services research, clinical practice guidelines, and on health care technology, including the assessment of such technology."

The Center works closely with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) , formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), to improve the dissemination of the results of health services research, with special emphasis on the growing body of evidence reports and technology assessments which provide organizations with comprehensive, science-based information on common, costly medical conditions and new health care technologies.

The overall goals of the NICHSR are: to make the results of health services research, including practice guidelines and technology assessments, readily available to health practitioners, health care administrators, health policy makers, payers, and the information professionals who serve these groups; to improve access to data and information needed by the creators of health services research; and to contribute to the information infrastructure needed to foster patient record systems that can produce useful health services research data as a by-product of providing health care.

Products and Services

NICHSR coordinates the development of information products and services related to health services research.

HealthSTAR (Health Services Technology, Administration, and Research) was an online bibliographic information service that resided as a separate database available from the National Library of Medicine from February 1994 (originally called HSTAR) to December 2000. Materials that comprised HealthSTAR, have now migrated to other NLM online web-based environments: (1) journal citations are being added weekly to NLM's PubMed ( (2) books, book chapters, technical reports and conference papers are added regularly to NLM's online catalog, LocatorPlus (, and (3) meeting abstracts from AcademyHealth (formerly Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy and the Association for Health Services Research), Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi) (formerly International Society of Technology Assessment in Health Care), and the Cochrane Colloquium annual conferences have moved to the NLM Gateway ( Users can go to these specific environments to search for HSR literature or they can use the NLM Gateway to simultaneously search across all information services.

HSRProj, ( , and the NLM Gateway,, under the Other Collections category) a database of citations to research-in-progress funded by federal and foundation grants and contracts, became available in 1995. HSRProj builds upon a database developed in prototype by staff of AcademyHealth and the Cecil Sheps Center at the University of North Carolina with funding from the Pew Charitable Trust. It includes over 5,000 citations to ongoing or recently completed research funded since 2000.

HSRR (Health Services and Sciences Research Resources), (, is a free searchable catalog of research datasets, instruments and software relevant to health services research, behavioral and social sciences, and public health.

HSTAT (Health Services/Technology Assessment Text), (, is a free, Web-based resource of full-text documents that provide health information and support health care decision making. HSTAT's audience includes health care providers, health service researchers, policy makers, payers, consumers and the information professionals who serve these groups. It includes Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) evidence reports, guideline documents, and technology assessments, NIH Consensus Development Conference Statements and Technology Assessment Workshop Reports, the U.S. Task Force on Preventive Services' Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service (ATIS) approved guidelines, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) treatment improvement protocols.

DIRLINE®, (available from NLM Gateway under the Consumer Health category) NLM's Directory of Information Resources onLINE, has a special subfile covering health services research organizations including those involved in technology assessment and development of practice guidelines.

In addition to its online databases, NICHSR and other NLM staff develop guides, fact sheets, bibliographies, and other products targeted to health services researchers. To find many of these go to the Health Services Research and Public Health Information Programs Web page at

Outreach and Training

NICHSR collaborates with other NLM components and with members of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine® (NN/LM) to exhibit NLM products and services and to present specially focused training classes at national meetings of HSR-related organizations. NICHSR also provides training programs for medical librarians to improve their ability to respond to health services research questions and to support the conduct of such research, and training activities directed toward producers and users of health services research.

Research and Development

NICHSR supports a number of intramural and extramural research and development projects designed to improve access to useful health services research data. Current efforts include: expansion of the Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®) Metathesaurus® to improve its utility in creating and retrieving computer-based patient records; and funding of extramural research and evaluation involving the creation and use of computer-based patient records.

For more information on NICHSR, contact:

National Information Center
on Health Services Research and
Health Care Technology (NICHSR)
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Building 38A, Room 4S-410, Mail Stop 20
Bethesda, MD 20894

Voice: (301)496-0176; Fax: (301)402-3193
email:; Internet:

NLM's home page is: For a complete list of NLM Fact Sheets visit: Or, write to: Office of Communications and Public Liaison, National Library of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20894. Fax: (301) 496-4450: email:

Last updated: 28 September 2004
First published: 18 November 2002
Metadata| Permanence level: Permanent: Stable Content