Institute of Health Services and Policy Research Strategic Plan 2009-2014

Table of Contents


Message from the Scientific Director

The Institute of Health Services and Policy Research has the privilege of supporting world-class researchers who consistently push the envelope in the conduct of outstanding research. Made up of social and political scientists, economists, practitioner-researchers, ethicists, informaticists, and innumerable others, our community draws strength from its inter-disciplinary roots and its willingness to work collaboratively towards the common goal of improved health system outcomes.

Our mandate is championing and supporting excellent health services and policy research and knowledge translation to identify, understand and address health system needs and challenges and to contribute to health system accessibility, responsiveness, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. Upon reflection of IHSPR's history, I believe it is a testament to the excellence of our researchers and the critical role of health services and policy research in improving the healthcare system that IHSPR and the people it supports have achieved such great successes under this demanding and far-reaching directive.

In its first four years, IHSPR worked to build up a fledgling community and chart a path forwards for health services and policy research. Early initiatives included helping to launch the Healthcare Policy journal and partnering closely with other major Canadian HSPR organizations on the pan-Canadian research priority setting exercises, Listening for Direction. With the innovative rapid response Wait Times Initiative, IHSPR ushered in a new era in which responsive research and timely knowledge translation became the norm. By successfully funding the conduct of rapid research syntheses to help establish national wait times benchmarks, not only did this initiative demonstrate our research community's capacity to mobilize and respond to real-life health system challenges, it also indicated a commitment on the part of policy-makers to engage in evidence-informed decision making and responsible use of research knowledge.

Upon becoming Scientific Director, my vision was to build upon these early successes by focusing on a few key research priorities: drug policy, access to appropriate care across the continuum, and health information. Our partnered investments for seven Applied Chairs in these fields will help build capacity, increase research production, and enhance knowledge translation and application. IHSPR also helped to shepherd the formation of the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network, a multi-million dollar initiative that will provide Health Canada and other decision-makers with real-world evidence about post-market pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, by revitalizing the Partnerships for Health System Improvement program and launching the new Evidence on Tap initiative, we've helped demonstrate CIHR's leadership in the field of applied and policy-relevant research and have created new mechanisms that unite researchers and decision makers to solve health system challenges.

Although we've made great progress and sustained many successes, we still face difficult health and health system challenges, such as rising drug costs, fragmentation of care, and the slow uptake of health information systems across Canada. Given our rapidly changing environment of economic uncertainty, emerging threats to global health, and shifting population demographics, new and increasingly complex questions will continue to emerge. Furthermore, while we've built a solid foundation for a thriving health services and policy research community, advocacy for and investment in health services research capacity building and infrastructure is still very much needed.

IHSPR's new strategic plan is intended to guide us in addressing the health and health system challenges of today, while offering us enough flexibility to confront those of the future. The plan is the result of concerted efforts on the part of our Institute Advisory Board and the health services and policy research and decision-maker community in Canada and has been informed through a series of targeted consultations, town hall meetings, research priority setting exercises, and strategic planning retreats.

I am confident that this plan and the four core goals it encompasses will set us on the right course of action towards achieving outstanding health services and policy research that improves health system outcomes. The most important element to realizing this vision, however, is working for and with our engaged community of researchers and decision makers. We are determined to champion health services and policy research, as we know it is one of the most fundamental ways of achieving better health and health care for all Canadians.

Sincerely,
Colleen M. Flood

About CIHR

Mandate

The mandate of CIHR is "to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health-care system" (Bill C-13, April 13, 2000).

Vision

CIHR's vision is to position Canada as a world leader in the creation and use of knowledge through health research that benefits Canadians and the global community.

Achieving the mandate and vision

Established in 2000, CIHR promotes a problem-based, multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to health research. Its unique structure brings together researchers from across disciplinary and geographic boundaries through its 13 Institutes. Currently, CIHR supports more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees in universities, teaching hospitals and other health organizations and research centres across the country. The agency supports health research in a transparent process that meets the highest international standards of excellence and ethics in four research areas: biomedical; clinical; health systems and services; and the social, cultural and environmental factors that affect the health of populations.

Institutes

CIHR's 13 Institutes share responsibility for achieving the fundamental objective of CIHR and have their own distinct strategic plans that are aligned with the overarching directions, mandate and vision of CIHR. The Institutes promote and build upon Canada's firm foundation of research excellence, engage the research community and encourage interdisciplinary, integrative health research. Through their Scientific Directors and Institute Advisory Boards and under the oversight and guidance of CIHR's Governing Council, the Institutes work with stakeholders to forge a health research agenda across disciplines, sectors and regions that embraces scientific opportunity and reflects the emerging health needs of Canadians, the evolution of the health-care system and the information needs of health policy decision makers.

CIHR-IHSPR's Vision, Mandate, and Values

Vision

Outstanding health services and policy research to improve health system outcomes.

Mandate

Championing and supporting excellent health services and policy research and knowledge translation to identify, understand and address health system needs and challenges and to contribute to health system accessibility, responsiveness, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability.

Our Values

IHSPR is supportive of the CIHR values as outlined in CIHR's 'Health Research Roadmap: Creating innovative research for better health and healthcare'. IHSPR places particular emphasis on the following values:

  • Excellence in all endeavors
  • Leadership with respect to health systems challenges
  • Effective local, regional, national and international partnerships
  • Ethically responsible research, impartiality and academic freedom
  • Diversity and rigour in theoretical and methodological approaches
  • Inclusiveness of all research disciplines
  • Optimizing and leveraging resources
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Effective communication and engagement with partners and target audiences

CIHR-IHSPR's Strategic Goals

Goal 1

Support the education, training, mentoring and development of the brightest minds in health services and policy research to meet health system challenges

Objectives:

  1. Maintain and build training and mentoring programs and initiatives that are responsive to health services and policy needs and challenges as well as to the current and diverse career paths of health services and policy trainees and researchers.
  2. Promote collaboration, both within Canada and internationally, to expand and foster training and career options for researchers and provide support for networking and sharing of best practices among researchers, research users and trainees in health services and policy research.
  3. Develop initiatives to recognize excellence of health services and policy researchers at all stages of their career.
  4. Address, where possible, disparities in shortages in Canada's capacity to undertake outstanding health services and policy research.

Building research capacity in Canada
A high-performing healthcare system is built upon a strong foundation of research evidence and requires a vibrant research culture to support the creation of new knowledge. One way IHSPR is working to enhance Canada's health services research capacity is by funding the Applied Chairs in Health Services and Policy Research. These mid-career researchers are dedicated to conducting policy-relevant research, engaging decision makers in knowledge exchange, and training and mentoring others to conduct applied research in key areas ranging from health information systems to healthcare delivery in rural and remote populations. By supporting this and other capacity-building programs, IHSPR is helping to ensure a thriving community of health services and policy researchers and trainees who are well-equipped to address emerging health system challenges and improve health system outcomes.

Goal 2

Champion and support the development of methods, tools, infrastructures and theoretical knowledge for excellence in health services and policy research

Objectives:

  1. Support programs and initiatives that develop, expand, and/or refine methods, tools, infrastructures and theoretical knowledge for health services and policy research and their application.
  2. Facilitate interaction among multiple disciplines and jurisdictions, including both researchers and research users, to encourage the sharing of methods, tools, infrastructures and theoretical knowledge for improvements in health services and policy research.
  3. Advocate for improved access to data repositories for health services and policy research.
  4. Facilitate the adoption of best practices in data stewardship for health services and policy researchers, including ethical and privacy considerations.

Supporting new frontiers in research
Today's complex health system challenges require sophisticated solutions that are based on state-of-the-art research. That's why IHSPR invests in programs like Advancing Theoretical and Methodological Innovations in Health Research, which supports researchers who are breaking ground in the way health services and policy research is conducted. Whether it's a better way to evaluate health services programs, a new theory to understand knowledge transfer, or an improved ethical framework to guide resource allocation decisions, innovative and original thinking are the keys to cutting-edge excellence in health services and policy research and knowledge translation.

Goal 3

Support and enhance health services and policy research and knowledge translation initiatives to address health system challenges

Objectives:

  1. Support research programs and initiatives that develop and evaluate innovative approaches to health care delivery that aim to improve access, equity, efficiency, quality and/or outcomes of health care.
  2. Maintain, assess and improve programs that support high quality research that is responsive to the health system challenges identified with input from and research users and researchers.
  3. Champion and support the timely translation of health services and policy research into action.
  4. Champion, develop and promote dedicated knowledge translation tools and initiatives for mobilizing a variety of types of research evidence to address specific managerial or policy challenges in a timely and responsive way.

Linking researchers and decision makers
Healthcare decision makers need timely access to high-quality, relevant research knowledge in order to make evidence-informed decisions. IHSPR aims to meet this need by offering unique programs that bring top quality research to those who need it most, when they need it. Evidence on Tap helps decision makers get the facts on some of their most pressing health system challenges by funding teams of researchers to conduct expedited knowledge syntheses on questions generated by provincial ministries of health. This program also takes research right to decision makers' doorsteps by bringing in some of the top researchers in Canada and abroad to dialogue with senior decision makers and share the latest evidence on high priority, ministry-identified topics. By helping researchers and decision makers work together, IHSPR is working to support responsible, evidence-informed decision-making and a stronger health system overall.

Goal 4

Demonstrate and communicate the importance of health services and policy research and knowledge translation to strengthen the health care system and the health of Canadians

Objectives:

  1. Develop and lead a solution-driven strategy across CIHR that supports Roadmap and that addresses health system challenges as they relate to health services and policy research.
  2. Build a broader health services constituency to promote and advocate for health services and policy research and knowledge translation.
  3. Foster greater collaboration and synergy among health services and policy research funding partners.
  4. Promote the value of health services and policy research to the broader community.

Championing the field of health services and policy research
Health services and policy research and knowledge translation are crucial building blocks for a strong, sustainable healthcare system that meets the needs of the Canadian population. IHSPR is committed to advocating for health services and policy research and knowledge translation so that that funding partners, knowledge users, and other stakeholders understand the importance of this field and the contributions it can make to improving health and health care. The cornerstones of our efforts are the major Summits we lead. These flagship events bring together Canadian and international health system stakeholders, including researchers, policy-makers, healthcare administrators, and clinicians, to share and exchange knowledge and galvanize national attention on the need for change and reform in vital areas like health information and primary healthcare. By promoting the value of health services and policy research and knowledge translation, IHSPR is helping to make sure our researchers and the knowledge they generate are recognized for their essential contributions to healthcare system improvement.

The Path Forward

Guided by these four strategic goals, IHSPR will champion and support outstanding health services and policy research in Canada. Through smart investments in research, capacity, and knowledge translation and the continual development of a vibrant health services and policy research community, IHSPR will help CIHR achieve the strategic directions laid out in Roadmap and will cement health services and policy research as a fundamental way for CIHR and its Institutes to achieve better health and health care for Canadians.

IHSPR Staff

Colleen M. Flood
Scientific Director

Tony Chin
Senior Program Officer

Andrea Eccleston
Executive Assistant

Chris McCutcheon
Manager, PHSI & Evidence on Tap

Meghan McMahon
Senior Projects Officer, Knowledge Translation

Ellen Melis
Assistant Director

Michèle O'Rourke
Associate, Strategic Initiatives

Stephanie Soo
Senior Projects Officer

For more information about IHSPR or to contact IHSPR staff, please visit the IHSPR website.

IHSPR Institute Advisory Board

Ivy Bourgeault
University of Ottawa

Krista Connell
Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation

Jean-Louis Denis (Chair)
Université de Montréal

Lee Fairclough
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

Pierre Gerlier Forest
Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation

Stefan Greß
Hochschule Fulda - University of Applied Sciences

Carol Klassen
Regina Qu'Appelle Health Authority

Eric Latimer
Douglas Institute

Pascale Lehoux
University of Montreal

Kathyrn McDade
Health Canada

David Moher
Ottawa Health Research Institute

Steve Morgan
University of British Columbia

Peter Norton
University of Calgary

Anne Sales (Vice-Chair)
University of Alberta

Nicola Shaw
University of Alberta

Robyn Tamblyn
McGill University

Jennifer Zelmer
International Health Terminology Standards Organisation