This paper’s objective is to illustrate the state of art of the research on accountability in healthcare for obtaining an overall view of a field’s intellectual structure. The high complexity of the healthcare system and the consequence of the New Public Management (NPM) and Post NPM reforms have contributed to the need for effective accountability by healthcare providers. A bibliometric review "through a co-word analysis" of research published in scientific journals and indexed in the SSCI (Social Science Citation Index) database over a period of 23 years (1990-2013) is been performed. To better understanding the conceptual structure of the research field a Hierarchical Cluster Analysis is been conducted: it allowed identifying prevailing areas in the research field. Literature paid great attention to the proposal and analysis of instruments for improving accountability and to the description of laws and regulations. Several topics have been poorly explored: a) the identification of obstacles that hinder the healthcare organisations’ ability to be accountable; b) the effectiveness of Instruments through which healthcare organisations respond to the demand for accountability; c) healthcare organisations’ strategies for responding to the pressure generated by regulations. The added value is the elaboration of a keywords map, which is a useful tool to understand the intellectual structure of the field, identifying the issues that have been more explored, or those that remain relatively unstudied, on which scholars should focus their future efforts.
Keywords: Accountability, Health, Bibliometric review, Co-word analysis.