Mapping the literature of health care management: an update


  • Amber T. Burtis Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Susan M. Howell Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Mary K. Taylor



Objective: This study aims to identify the core journals cited in the health care management literature and to determine their coverage in the foremost bibliographic databases used by the discipline.

Methods: Using the methodology outlined by the Medical Library Association’s Nursing and Allied Health Resource Section (NAHRS) protocol for “Mapping the Literature of Nursing and Allied Health Professions,” this study updates an earlier study published in 2007. Cited references from articles published in a three-year range (2016–2018) were collected from five health care management journals. Using Bradford’s Law of Scattering, cited journal titles were tabulated and ranked according to the number of times cited. Eleven databases were used to determine coverage of the most highly cited journal titles for all source journals, as well as for a subset of practitioner-oriented journals.

Results: The most highly cited sources were journals, followed by government documents, Internet resources, books, and miscellaneous resources. The databases with the most complete coverage of Zone 1 and 2 were Scopus, Web of Science Core Collection, and PubMed, while the worst performing databases were Health Business Elite, ABI/Inform, and Business Source Complete.

Conclusions: The literature of health care management has expanded rapidly in the last decade, with cumulative citations increasing by 76.6% and the number of cited journal titles increasing by nearly 70% since the original study. Coverage of the core journals in popular databases remains high, although specialized health care management and business databases did not perform as well as general or biomedical databases. 


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Original Investigation