‘Evidence for Reform: Where Research Meets Policy’ Research Conference
The Department of Health has hosted a research conference titled, ‘Evidence for Reform: where research meets policy’. The purpose of this event was to explore ways to facilitate research for health policy and reform, as expressed in the Department of Health’s national reform agenda, Sláintecare. The audience was comprised of researchers, policy makers, research agencies, patient advocates, and clinicians.
In line with the objectives of Impact 2030: Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy, the conference focused on the theme of research impact in healthcare policy. The event consisted of three sessions with themes aligned to the Capacity Review 2018. These are:
- Health system sustainability and productivity
- Expansion of care into the community
- Health promotion, prevention, and well-being
Each session included speakers from universities, research institutes, and researchers from health sector organisations like Health Service Executive (HSE), Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), POBAL, and National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE). The presentations addressed challenges to health system reform and development with evidence-informed insights. The sessions were chaired by senior officials from the Department of Health with relevant expertise to help guide research into decision-relevant policy imperatives.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly welcomed the conference saying, “the Irish research effort was central to our response to the pandemic. We need to harness this capacity and direct it towards the reform of our Health and Social Care system. With ongoing demographic and economic challenges to the health sector, it is important for healthcare to be delivered efficiently, sustainably, and equitably. This conference provides an excellent opportunity to facilitate the link between research and policy, to ensure evidence is guiding our reform effort.”
To advance the linkage between research and policy, the Department of Health also launched its first Statement of Research Priorities for Health and Social Care Research. This Statement, which outlines the department’s current policy research needs, is designed to facilitate greater transparency between researcher and policy makers. The publication of this Statement will be followed by an Evidence-for-Policy call to be launched by the Health Research Board (HRB) later this year.
The day concluded with a reflective panel discussion involving high-ranking members of the health research and policy organisations. These included Robert Watt – Secretary General of the Department of Health, Bernard Gloster – incoming CEO of the HSE, Ana Terrés – Head of Research and Evidence at HSE, Máirín Ryan – Director of Health Technology Assessment at HIQA, and Mairéad O’Driscoll – CEO, Health Research Board at HRB. The plenary speakers reflected on their experience in the health sector and their vision of how research can best inform public policy and reform.