HSPRSN Summary Report

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In 2003 and 2004, the BC Ministry of Health Services (currently the Ministry of Health) provided grants totaling $16 million to the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research for an initiative to fund and build capacity for health services and policy research focusing on health system evaluation, redesign and innovation. A Health Services and Policy Research Support Network (HSPRSN) was launched, with a Steering Council representing health authorities, universities and the ministry.

Report Outline

This report summarizes the collective impact of programs undertaken by the Health Services and Policy Research Support Network from 2003 as the funding for the initiative draws to a close. Findings from existing program evaluations and reports as well as from Steering Council interviews are presented, along with considerations for future support of health services and policy research in BC.

Key Findings

  • Overall, the findings suggest that since the inception of the Network in 2003, the health services and policy research landscape has improved.
  • Participants of HSPRSN programs and Steering Council members credit the network with contributing to this change by providing dedicated funding to build capacity, fostering collaboration among health authorities, researchers and government, and requiring funded research teams to apply the research evidence to health system improvement.
  • There is consensus that the Health Authority Capacity Building and Investigative Team programs had the most impact on health services and policy in British Columbia. The former enabled HAs with little or no research activity to build infrastructure that in some cases has been sustained and strengthened. In the Investigative Team program, lasting relationships and partnerships have been built between researchers and users of research.
  • The Partnership program has provided the most direct opportunity to attract national funding to BC, enabling HSPRSN to leverage funds while supporting BC researchers to apply for funding from national programs.