This study reporting on the characteristics of individuals conducting health service research (HSR) in Australia and New Zealand, the perceived accessibility of resources for HSR, the self-reported impact of HSR projects and perceived barriers to conducting HSR has just been published in Australian Health Review https://doi.org/10.1071/AH18213.
In all, 424 researchers participated in the study (22% response rate). Respondents held roles as health service researchers (76%), educators (34%) and health professionals (19%). Most were employed by a university (64%), and 57% held a permanent contract. Although 63% reported network support for HSR, smaller proportions reported executive (48%) or financial (26%) support. The least accessible resources were economists (52%), consumers (49%) and practice change experts (34%); researchers affiliated with health services were less likely to report access to tatisticians (P < 0.001), economists (P < 0.001), librarians (P = 0.02) and practice change experts (P = 0.02) than university-affiliated researchers. Common impacts included conference presentations (94%), publication of peer-reviewed articles (87%) and health professional benefits (77%). Qualitative data emphasised barriers such as embedding research culture within services and engaging with policy makers.
Despite a vibrant and experienced HSR community, this study highlights some key barriers to realising a greater effect on the health and well-being of Australian and New Zealand communities through HSR. These barriers include limited financial resources, methodological expertise, organisational support and opportunities to engage with potential collaborators.