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EBHC Symposium

Dear Friends,
on behalf of CEESTAHC, I heartily invite you to take part in:
the 15th International Evidence-Based Health Care Symposium titled
From Evidence to Action
which will be held on-line on October 5-7, 2020.
Due to the uncertain epidemiological situation, for the first time ever, our Symposium will be held exclusively on-line. This decision was not easy, but was taken with the safety of all our participants and lecturers in mind. I do not know whether the Internet will allow us to emulate the openness and freedom of discussion which has characterised the Symposium for years, but I will do my utmost to create a virtual space dedicated to this need. I hope we will fill this new place with valuable content and exchange views in a friendly atmosphere.
I would like to invite you to our annual meeting which will be held in a completely new form. The lectures will also be available on-line for later viewing.
The programme of the 15th International EBHC Symposium will be divided into six thematic sessions held over the course of 3 days:
  1. Assessing innovativeness of health technologies
  2. Health policy, drug policy – from strategy to implementation
  3. Self-government Academy
  4. New significance of electronic health technologies
  5. Who is responsible for the patient in the healthcare system?
  6. From data to big data
Organised since 2006, the EBHC Symposium has become a fixture in the conference calendar, attracting both Polish and international participants. It is a place of uninhibited discussions on health technology assessment and the efficacy of system solutions. Inevitably, it has also become a platform for discussing the shape of the Polish healthcare system.
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.
Magdalena Władysiuk
The past few months, marked by the struggle against COVID-19, forced mankind to immediately move to Action, to face a threat not yet described in the Evidence. This situation confirms the relevance of the direction set out by the theme of this year’s Symposium: from Evidence to Action. We need to develop tools for faster implementation of knowledge, to avoid surprises on such a huge and sometimes tragic scale in the future.
I am counting on your participation and lively discussions. Life has provided more than enough topics, problems and challenges in the recent months...
Yours faithfully - Magdalena Władysiuk

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 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.
We recommend
EBHC Symposium
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