In September this year, the inaugural Global Evidence Summit (GES) took place in Cape Town, South Africa. For three days, 1300 delegates from 75 countries descended onto the shores of Table Bay.
It was a prestigious event. World class leaders in research and evidence policy were gathered together by Cochrane, The Campbell Collaboration, Joanna Briggs Institute, Guidelines International Network and the International Society for Evidence Based Health Care; rallied by the sound of beating drums, this vanguard of transformative evidence drove lively discussions around the Summit’s central theme – ‘Using evidence. Improving lives’.
The GES plenaries brought outstanding speakers from several sectors beyond just health who shared their long experience in key research and policy positions. Their personal commitment, charisma and strong ethical views have been instrumental in guiding the production and use of evidence in some remarkable examples.
As for our own contribution, the PHISICC project introduced a ‘new methods’ approach to evidence creation and use: Human Centred Design. Until now, this approach has hardly featured in public health research despite its successful application in other sectors to improve service design and delivery.
PHISICC presented two long oral sessions which raised a lot of interest. A frequent comment was that we had identified the hot issues that affect the real implementation of interventions, but often get unnoticed in research. There was a clear message that these issues have to be taken into account with innovative approaches. A brief recap of our presentations follows here:
Real-Real World Evidence
The first, led by Meike Zuske, examined evidence from a systematic review on the effects of interventions to improve health information systems. The findings indicated that insights were lacking on how these interventions worked and how they could actually respond to the decision making requirements at the primary health care level. This led to a second systematic review (a ‘Framework Synthesis”) that looked at the evidence through the lens of a decision making framework; this framework was the result of intensive field work focusing on users experience with existing health information systems and their real decision making space. [Slides available here]
Human Centred Design
The second was led by Christian Auer and showed how Human Centred Design approaches were able to unveil the human experience behind the use of health information systems at the primary health care level in three African countries. The use of these approaches radically changed the perspective on what was considered important for health workers and, therefore, which type of interventions could, eventually, have an impact on health information systems and decision making. [Slides available here]
Our co-authors in these presentations included PHISICC team members and Ministries of Health Officials from Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Nigeria, as well as experts in Human Centred Design.
Many thanks to the GES for supporting our research and for a wonderful few days in beautiful Cape Town.
Dr Xavier Bosch-Capblanch