Assessing health services policy and practice impact in Canada – overview of a shared framework

Abstract: Research translation stalls in the ‘valleys of death’ between research to implementation and impact. Impact assessment can bridge these valleys by systematically uncovering translational challenges including diverse stakeholder values and the attribution and contribution of research on system impacts. Alberta Innovates (AI) is a Canadian-based publicly funded provincial organization mandated to improve the environment, health, and socio-economic well-being of Albertans through research and innovation. For the last decade AI has used the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) impact framework to implement numerous “fit-for-purpose” health-related impact assessments. In Canada, grass roots initiatives to co-develop and co-implement impact frameworks with key stakeholders are underway to address ‘gap’ challenges. These initiatives expand on the CAHS framework by identifying different pathways to translate research while identifying ‘what works and does not’ under ‘what conditions’ at a system level as well as enabling stakeholders to develop fit-for-purpose assessments to demonstrate, measure, and communicate impact. The Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance (CHSPRA), a group of organizations fostering collaboration, coordination, and strategic investment to advance health services and policy research, provides a case illustration of co-developing and implementing a shared framework focused on policy and practice decision-making. This presentation will provide an overview of the CHSPRA Informing Decision-Making Impact Framework, including: its relationship to CAHS; pathways to impact, key performance indicators, and communication tools; and a six-block protocol for planning, monitoring, and evaluating impact. A discussion about how this framework challenges conventional thought on the time lags from implementation to impact will follow.

Biography: Dr. Maxi Miciak is the inaugural Cy Frank postdoctoral fellow in impact assessment at Alberta Innovates. Her focus has been developing frameworks to assess research impact on informed decision-making and the scale and spread of research and innovation in the healthcare system. Most notably she has worked on a pan-Canadian initiative with multiple health services and policy research stakeholders to co-develop and implement a research impact framework for informing decision-making in health services and policy. Maxi’s research probes the factors that influence person-centered practice and quality of care from social (e.g. therapeutic relationship) and systems (e.g. care models) perspectives. Maxi completed her doctoral studies in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Alberta in 2015. Her clinical experience as a physical therapist has been instrumental in informing her research interests.