Health Research Policy and Systems
[Accessed 3 January 2014]
Does health intervention research have real world policy and practice impacts: testing a new impact assessment tool
Gillian Cohen, Jacqueline Schroeder, Robyn Newson, Lesley King, Lucie Rychetnik, Andrew J Milat, Adrian E Bauman, Sally Redman and Simon Chapman
Health Research Policy and Systems 2015, 13:3 doi:10.1186/1478-4505-13-3
Published: 1 January 2015
There is a growing emphasis on the importance of research having demonstrable public benefit. Measurements of the impacts of research are therefore needed. We applied a modified impact assessment process that builds on best practice to 5 years (2003-2007) of intervention research funded by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council to determine if these studies had post-research real-world policy and practice impacts.
We used a mixed method sequential methodology whereby chief investigators of eligible intervention studies who completed two surveys and an interview were included in our final sample (n = 50), on which we conducted post-research impact assessments. Data from the surveys and interviews were triangulated with additional information obtained from documentary analysis to develop comprehensive case studies. These case studies were then summarized and the reported impacts were scored by an expert panel using criteria for four impact dimensions: corroboration; attribution, reach, and importance.
Nineteen (38%) of the cases in our final sample were found to have had policy and practice impacts, with an even distribution of high, medium, and low impact scores. While the tool facilitated a rigorous and explicit criterion-based assessment of post-research impacts, it was not always possible to obtain evidence using documentary analysis to corroborate the impacts reported in chief investigator interviews.
While policy and practice is ideally informed by reviews of evidence, some intervention research can and does have real world impacts that can be attributed to single studies. We recommend impact assessments apply explicit criteria to consider the corroboration, attribution, reach, and importance of reported impacts on policy and practice. Impact assessments should also allow sufficient time between impact data collection and completion of the original research and include mechanisms to obtain end-user input to corroborate claims and reduce biases that result from seeking information from researchers only.
Climate for evidence informed health system policymaking in Cameroon and Uganda before and after the introduction of knowledge translation platforms: a structured review of governmental policy documents
Pierre Ongolo-Zogo, John N Lavis, Goran Tomson, Nelson K Sewankambo Health Research Policy and Systems 2015, 13:2 (1 January 2015)
There is a scarcity of empirical data on African country climates for evidence-informed health system policymaking (EIHSP) to backup the longstanding reputation that research evidence is not valued enough by health policymakers as an information input.
Herein, we assess whether and how changes have occurred in the climate for EIHSP before and after the establishment of two Knowledge Translation Platforms housed in government institutions in Cameroon and Uganda since 2006.
We merged content analysis techniques and policy sciences analytical frameworks to guide this structured review of governmental policy documents geared at achieving health Millennium Development Goals. We combined i) a quantitative exploration of the usage statistics of research-related words and constructs, citations of types of evidence, and budgets allocated to research-related activities; and (ii) an interpretive exploration using a deductive thematic analysis approach to uncover changes in the institutions, interests, ideas, and external factors displaying the country climate for EIHSP. Descriptive statistics compared quantitative data across countries during the periods 2001-2006 and 2007-2012.
We reviewed 54 documents, including 33 grants approved by global health initiatives. The usage statistics of research-related words and constructs showed an increase over time across countries. Varied forms of data, information, or research were instrumentally used to describe the burden and determinants of poverty and health conditions. The use of evidence syntheses to frame poverty and health problems, select strategies, or forecast the expected outcomes has remained sparse over time and across countries. The budgets for research increased over time from 28.496 to 95.467 million Euros (335%) in Cameroon and 38.064 to 58.884 million US dollars (155%) in Uganda, with most resources allocated to health sector performance monitoring and evaluation. The consistent naming of elements pertaining to the climate for EIHSP features the greater influence of external donors through policy transfer.
This structured review of governmental policy documents illustrates the nascent conducive climate for EIHSP in Cameroon and Uganda and the persistent undervalue of evidence syntheses. Global and national health stakeholders should raise the profile of evidence syntheses (e.g., systematic reviews) as an information input when shaping policies and programmes.