Interest in health care policy research has grown significantly over the past decade. This paper makes a number of suggestions for improving the quality of health care policy research and its influence on policymaking. These include suggestions for: 1) improving the way in which problems are identified and defined; 2) merging qualitative and quantitative approaches to study design, data collection, and analysis; 3) developing more integrative strategies for disseminating research results; 4) changing the reward structure to encourage health policy research; and 5) developing a stronger standby research capability. Specific examples of each of the above are presented. Throughout, the need for greater interaction among researchers, analysts, policymakers and practitioners is emphasized, along with specific suggestions for ways of bringing this about.