Interest in research on health care has become quite substantial, in part as a result of the recent emergence of public-policy concern for quality assurance and cost-containment. Yet, the essence of this novel line of research has remained, regrettably, a matter of confusion. In particular, the distinction between health care research on one side and health research on the other is being missed in some eminent writings. We emphasize that, properly, the former is to be viewed as having health care, rather than health, as its object, and as being largely descriptive fact-finding about the nature and occurrence of various processes of health care. In these terms it serves policy and administrative decisions in the context of whatever knowledge is available from health research--as to the health consequences of such processes of care. Health research (applied), in turn, addresses the nature and occurrence of phenomena of health (their frequency)--in relation to type of health care, inter alia. Using the example of the North Karelia project, we illustrate the negative consequences of including under health care research inquiries into the premises of health care--notably studies on the effects of care on health outcome.