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Use of a knowledge synthesis by decision makers and planners to facilitate system level integration in a large Canadian provincial health authority

Authors:

Esther Suter,

Alberta Health Services - Calgary, CA
About Esther

PhD, Senior Research and Evaluation Consultant, Health Systems & Workforce Research Unit, Health Professions Strategy & Practice, Alberta Health Services, 10301 Southport Lane SW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2W 1S7

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Gail Armitage

Alberta Health Services - Calgary and Area, CA
About Gail

MA, Research Analyst, Health Systems & Workforce Research Unit, Health Professions Strategy & Practice, Alberta Health Services, 10301 Southport Lane SW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2W 1S7

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Abstract

Purpose: The study is an examination of how a knowledge synthesis, conducted to fill an information gap identified by decision makers and planners responsible for integrating health systems in a western Canadian health authority, is being used within that organisation.

Methods: Purposive sampling and snowball technique were used to identify 13 participants who were interviewed about how they are using the knowledge synthesis for health services planning and decision-making.

Results: The knowledge synthesis is used by those involved in the strategic direction of the provincial healthcare organisation and those tasked with the operationalization of integration at the provincial or local level. Both groups most frequently use the ten key principles for integration, followed by the sections on integration processes, strategies and models. The key principles facilitate discussion on priority areas to be considered and provide a reference point for a desired future state. Perceived information gaps relate to a lack of detail on "how to" strategies, tools and processes that would lead to successful integration.

Discussion and conclusion: The current project demonstrates that decision makers and planners will effectively use a knowledge synthesis if it is timely, relevant and accessible. The information can be applied at strategic and operations levels. Attention needs to be paid to include more information on implementation strategies and processes. Including knowledge users in identifying research questions will increase information uptake.

How to Cite: Suter E, Armitage G. Use of a knowledge synthesis by decision makers and planners to facilitate system level integration in a large Canadian provincial health authority. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2011;11(1):None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.576
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Published on 24 Mar 2011.
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