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EBHC Symposium

Ladies and Gentlemen!
On behalf of CEESTAHC we heartily invite you to take part in:
the 15th International Evidence-Based Health Care Symposium titled
From Evidence to Action
which will be held in Cracow on October 5-6, 2020.
Park Inn hotel, ul. Monte Cassino 2.

Over the years, members of CEESTAHC have created hundreds of papers: analyses, recommendations, guidelines and reports. In theory, we have developed and disseminated thousands of pages of useful knowledge which may improve the effectiveness of the Polish healthcare system. Unfortunately, practically only a fraction of this knowledge has been applied in real actions aimed at improving the situation. Our experience shows that studies adapted for the needs of simple initiatives performed at lower levels of the healthcare system (e.g. health programmes) are the only ones which have some sort of effect on reality.
The remaining knowledge exists and expands thanks to new primary studies; it is also repeatedly processed in subsequent secondary studies. However, an average participant of the system is not aware of the existence and scale of new information which is constantly becoming available. The ever growing collection of data (Evidence) is like a mycelium which covers an entire forest – it remains virtually invisible and the desired effects spring up like mushrooms only in specific places and conditions. These external manifestations of that mycelium’s life are our Actions undertaken within the healthcare system: health programmes, system reforms, implementation of solutions. Only ideas which face favourable circumstances have a chance to succeed. The question is, is this how it is supposed to be?
Over the course of several years of working on solution optimisation, we have learned that the hardest stage of implementing any innovation within a large system is putting ideas into action. Transferring results of analyses and solution proposals to decision makers and then to the people who will be implementing them requires no less effort than the entire process of research and analysis. Insufficient effort put into promoting specific solutions, lack of ideas on how to communicate or poor communication can delay practical application of scientific work for many years, if not ruin the chance of putting an innovation to use altogether.
Transitioning from the research and analytical stage to implementation is difficult because it is associated with several serious obstacles:
  • Change of environment. A polished idea leaves the incubator and its scientific parents to be taken care of by people who, on a daily basis, usually handle completely different matters and for whom the idea might be incomprehensible.
  • Fear of change. While, during the creative process, the authors of an idea might only see its benefits, the people who will be putting that idea into action will likely focus on what the possible disruptions or losses might result from the implementation of such a new solution.
  • Scepticism. After many years of trying out various unsuccessful solutions in Poland, frequently those tailored to suit political needs, health market stakeholders may be distrustful of the latest "fantastic improvements".
  • Political climate. Healthcare is a sensitive topic and, due to its constant impact on the lives of all citizens, is prone to provoke hysterical reactions. Therefore, decision makers may be particularly reluctant to accept changes which might violate the existing status quo. The electoral cycle is often a huge obstacle for reforms, because any solutions which require an adaptation period longer than the election term are at risk of being dropped in the event of a change of leadership, often before they can even be launched.
  • Lack of ideas for implementation. Most research project budgets do not provide for a priori funds which can be allocated to translating future research results to implementation programmes for innovations. When starting work on a project, one seeks to obtain funding for the research itself. Research has a way of proving or debunking hypotheses, so it is often difficult to assume practical implementation of its results, as they remain unknown. When, following an analysis, an idea for improvement emerges, the actions lose momentum due to the lack of resources and an action plan.
We suspect that the difficulties with transitioning from Evidence to Action constitutes a problem faced not just in Poland. Most likely, thousands of researchers around the world feel, at some stage of their careers, the unsatisfactory impact of their efforts aimed at improving real world situations. For years, leading global organisations, such as the Cochrane Collaboration, have been publishing plain language summaries (PLS) of their reports, made available in national languages. They are designed to share knowledge with people unfamiliar with scientific nomenclature and not proficient in English. It is an attempt to make the mycelium (Evidence) more accessible without waiting for the frutification (Action).
We encourage you to discuss the possible ways to accelerate the Action, so that the extensive mycelium of our Evidence becomes useful beyond the specialised scientific publications. We believe that our cumulated knowledge, when applied properly, can greatly improve healthcare.
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