Emerging Health Policy Research Conference

Menzies Centre for Health Policy, The University of Sydney
Thursday 26 July 2018

Celia Green  attended the Emerging Health Policy Conference in July to present on the findings from the Policy Lab. The conference showcased emerging health policy research from academics, health policy professionals and students. Read Celia’s report below where she discusses the concept of rich pictures and research impact assessments.

I was pleased to be able to present at this conference as my presentation was the only one to focus on disability.  It was also interesting to see that there was not a lot of focus in other presentations on the social determinants of health.

The keynote address was by Stephen Duckett of the Grattan Institute and was titled Shaping policy: statistics, stakeholders and strategy. He discussed the Health Program influence model whereby the Grattan Institute Health program seeks to influence policy change. As we at the CRE-DH already know, this involves interactions among various stakeholders, the public and politicians. The main message conveyed was that when new knowledge is produced by the Grattan Institute (i.e. a report) they try to:

  1. Develop sustained campaigns and;
  2. Have a clear, distinct influence strategy for each report.

Although the way the Grattan Institute works is different to the CRE-DH, we will at some point want to be able to disseminate our findings so that they receive attention from policy makers. Part of this will be developing a strategy around how we might want to go about doing this.

I also attended a number of interesting presentations and took away some ideas which could possibly be utilised by the CRE-DH. These included a presentation on the use of “Rich Pictures”. These use imagery, symbolism, and metaphor to illustrate how a system operates. They can be used like a map to orient the viewer to the broader system and see themselves as part of it. Rich pictures are informed by data using qualitative analysis. The value of this tool lies in its use for ‘sense making’ not as an objective representation of a finding. The picture below is an example of a rich picture showing HPOs perspective on using PHIMs in Practice. However rich pictures can be created for any system. This tool can be especially useful in co-production situations.

Another interesting presentation looked at the difference between research impact assessments and research use assessments. These two approaches differ in terms of the emphasis placed on research and researchers as influencers of change.

The take home message was that combining aspects of the two approaches could be the best way forward in terms of linking outcomes to particular research as well as giving a more realistic picture of research influence.