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Title: Identifying and prioritising healthcare issues: involving consumers, health professionals and researchers.
Author: Wong Shee, Anna
Clapham, Renee
Aitken, J.
Donaldson, A.
Ananthapavan, J.
McNamara, K.
Ugalde, A.
Versace, V.
Issue Date: 2021
Conference Name: 8th Rural & Remote Scientific Symposium
Conference Date: October 6-7
Conference Place: Online
Abstract: Background: There is a gap between health research and rural health practice – with a mismatch between academic research and the needs and priorities of consumers and health professionals. To bridge this gap, it is vital that the issues researched are important to those who use and benefit from the research findings. To date, there has been limited public or consumer involvement in health research decision-making, particularly in rural and regional communities. There is a need for a systematic and transparent approach to setting health care research priorities that is evidence-based and incorporates the perspectives of stakeholders. This study brings together consumers, who can identify and prioritise areas for improvement based on their lived experiences; health professionals, who understand the local public health system; and academics, with research expertise and an understanding of the scientific evidence, to identify and prioritise health issues for a regional research agenda. Aim: To identify actionable health research priorities relevant to stakeholders in the Grampians region, Victoria. Methods: This study was conducted in five rural and regional communities in the Grampians region of Victoria. There were three phases: (1) surveys and community forums to identify consumers’ and allied health professionals’ perceptions of health care service gaps and local health issues; (2) Focus groups with allied health professionals and community members to explore the values considered important in determining health care priorities; and (3) a modified Delphi where participants (consumers, allied health professionals, and researchers) rated the health issue statements using the priority-setting criteria (identified in Phase 2) and grouped similar issues. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to group conceptually similar issues (‘cluster maps’). The priority-setting criteria rating descriptive statistics were calculated and used to generate three four-quadrant ‘go-zone’ graphs. The upper right quadrant, labelled the ‘go zone,’ shows the issues that were rated above average by participants on the priority setting criteria. Results: 187 survey respondents (70 health professionals, 117 community members) and three community forums provided over 400 health issue statements that the research team synthesised into 72 unique statements. Six focus groups (n=30) identified three key values to guide priority-setting: health burden (number of people affected); health equity (equal access for equal need); and feasibility (capacity to implement effective interventions). A nine-cluster map included: transport and technology challenges; social determinants of health; social issues; cancer and respiratory health; health behaviours and environmental determinants; cost of health care; availability of essential health services; quality and capacity of health services; and mental health and disability funding and service delivery. Issues, such as addressing anxiety and mental health issues in young people and lack of access to technology-based interventions due to poor internet coverage, were in the go zone, that is above average on all of the priority setting criteria. Significance: This study used a structured approach to consult consumers, clinicians and researchers to identify and prioritise health issues. Results of this study provide important information about the prioritized health needs of the community that should be used to inform the health research agenda.
Internal ID Number: 01913
Health Subject: RURAL HEALTH
Type: Conference
Appears in Collections:Research Output

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