A vision for the future: harnessing research to improve health outcomes

The Academy is currently working on a major project that aims to improve healthcare for Australians by better enabling research to be conducted within the health system. Harnessing research for better health: A vision for integrating research into healthcare will explore the value of embedding research in the health system, identify barriers and recommend solutions with the aim of improving patient care and outcomes.

Since mid-2021, the project’s working group has consulted with a wide range of stakeholders in the research and health sectors to collect evidence on how research is currently used in healthcare, and what could be improved. Starting with a feedback survey, the working group has since held a series of virtual roundtables and individual interviews to ensure the project outcomes are grounded in evidence and fully informed by views from across the sector.

This has included consultations with senior healthcare administrators, early and mid-career researchers, research leaders, research funders, clinical trial teams, healthcare consumers, First Nations researchers, international research leaders, and health medical technology leaders. The Academy was also delighted to hold its first meeting with consumers – a crucial perspective for this project.

Within these groups, representatives from the medical and health professions, health and medical research, healthcare services, industry, peak bodies, philanthropy, government, rural and remote health, and importantly, healthcare consumers from across Australia, gave feedback on their experiences, expectations and vision for the future.

Overall, more than 250 people have offered insight on a wide range of topics, including:

  • Facilitating clinical research and clinical trials
  • Driving research in healthcare settings
  • How to foster, grow and fund a clinician-researcher workforce
  • How to support commercialisation of health system innovation
  • Perspectives from consumers, including the need for co-design.
  • How to broker a balance between researcher interests and health service needs and priorities

The project’s working group is currently analysing and reflecting on the input received through these consultations, as well as past work such as the 2013 McKeon Review of Health and Medical Research, to create recommendations for what a research-rich health system might look like. We expect to publish our report later this year.

The final report will look at barriers to conducting research in healthcare, and opportunities for improvement to guide better research and healthcare integration to improve patient outcomes.

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