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
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 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.