Director’s 2019 Message

Welcome to 2019 and also to our new website. NSW Regional Health Partners is a very new organisation but determined to have an impact – by accelerating the translation of evidence into practice to improve the health and wellbeing of regional, rural and remote communities.

We are responding to a problem

Currently there is frequently a gap between the best evidence we know and the care patients actually receive. This ‘translation gap’ is a major problem, reducing the benefit of investment in biomedical research, resulting in research waste and needlessly poor outcomes for individuals and communities. Closing it is not easy:

‘as a social intervention, improving health care is complex and, therefore, difficult to understand, design, implement, reproduce, describe and report’. 1

Reasons for the gap include the failure to involve users – consumers and those working in the health system – adequately throughout the research endeavour and especially in priority setting. Health system managers often underinvest in research, considering it offers poor returns for patient care – academics have their own priorities and high-quality research is often not considered speedy enough to help managers make evidence-informed decisions. The structure we all work in is a problem:

‘In most industries, research and development are integral parts of the industry itself. But in health … we do something different; we separate research from the delivery of health care. We fund health research mainly through the higher education system.’2

It makes sense that:

‘If we want to improve innovation, diffusion and adoption, we should be seeking to integrate research into clinical practice and organizational routines, promote the coproduction of knowledge and build organisational absorptive capacity.’ 3

We will use the best evidence available to help us accelerate translation

In 2019 NSWRHP will work with our partners: health delivery organisations and research institutions to encourage the integration of research into clinical practice and organisational routines. Consumer involvement will be critical, as will be qualitative research – it is the best way to answer complex questions that surround improvement: “What works, how, why, for whom, to what extent and in what context? ”4 We will foster interdisciplinary collaboration5 and work with the understanding that innovations don’t simply diffuse out to other sites but require a process of re-creation by engaged people.6p6

Please work with us in 2019

Please get in contact with us to discuss our work and how you might become involved. We also invite you to help us support all of our partners and their translational work by suggesting links to relevant organisations and to resources. We are happy to receive nominations of papers of interest (and your reviews of them are also most welcome). Over time we will be able to feature more and more learning from the initiatives we fund.

  1. Massoud MR, Barry D, Murphy A, et al. How do we learn about improving health care: a call for a new epistemological paradigm. International journal for quality in health care:2016;28(3):420-4. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzw039
  2. Anderson W. Six challenges facing Australia’s medical research sector The Conversation 2015 April 15, 2015 4.05pm AEST.
  3. Walshe K, Davies HT. Health research, development and innovation in England from 1988 to 2013: from research production to knowledge mobilization: SAGE Publications Sage UK: London, England, 2013.
  4. Wears RL. Improvement and evaluation. BMJ Qual Saf 2015;24(2):92-4. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2014-003889
  5. Fudge N, Sadler E, Fisher HR, et al. Optimising translational research opportunities: a systematic review and narrative synthesis of basic and clinician Scientists’ perspectives of factors which enable or hinder translational research. PLoS One 2016;11(8):e0160475.
  6. Fitzgerald L. The Diffusion of Innovations: The Translation and Implementation of Evidence-Based Innovations. In: Fitzgerald L, McDermott A, eds. Challenging Perspectives on Organizational Change in Health Care: Routledge 2017.