Complex Made Simple

Health services research key to improving care: HMC expert

Health services research seeks to enhance the quality, organization and management of health services

Evidence generated from health services research should and can be translated into better healthcare, according to Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Chief of Planning and Performance, Mr. Gary Needle, speaking at a conference on the development of health services research and their implications in Qatar.

“How to best utilize our infrastructure and resources remains a constant question in a rapidly growing society, and the answer almost invariably requires detailed study and academic enquiry,” said Mr. Needle, during his opening address at the Health Services Research Symposium in Doha.

“The results of studies and in-depth research helps those of us engaged in delivering healthcare to better develop new and more refined ways of working with patients, their families and communities, with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes and the entire patient experience,” added Mr. Needle.

The one-day symposium sought to highlight the current state of research activity in Qatar and the growing movement towards developing stronger research ties across multiple organizations and healthcare disciplines, as well as to further an understanding among healthcare experts as to the importance of health services research as a means of recommending improvements in healthcare delivery to patients and families.

Two international guest speakers from Australia and the United Kingdom gave keynote addresses. Professor David Thompson from the Australian Catholic University spoke about how the accumulation of research has led to a better understanding of the rehabilitation needs for cardiac patients, while Dr. Rachel Churchill from Bristol University discussed how the use of evidence discovered through research can inform policy and practices in a health setting.

Local experts from Academic Health System (AHS) partners HMC, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Primary Health Care Corporation and Qatar University discussed how research into the delivery of health services in Qatar could be used to improve the overall efficiency of the country’s public healthcare system.

The conference brought together a variety of disciplines including medicine, nursing, public health and epidemiology.

HMC Executive Director of Medical Research Professor Ibrahim Al Janahi spoke about specific research challenges faced by Qatar.

“The entire patient journey through the healthcare system, which includes everything from how they make an appointment through to the treatment they receive, are key focus areas for health services research in Qatar,” said Professor Al Janahi.

“Scrutinizing the health services of Qatar using evidence-based research is a vital step towards improving the overall provision of healthcare to the population of the country, and is something that requires ongoing collaboration in a number of different areas within the health industry. Through quality research and analysis, we can determine how and where to make those improvements,” he added.

Several conference speakers outlined case studies where the results of health services research had led to applying changes in a process or in a clinical practice.

The symposium was organized by the Health Services Research Center, an initiative of the AHS program office. The center was launched in 2014 and has a local research network of over 600 members, who contribute their expertise to research activities in Qatar.

Health services research seeks to enhance the quality, organization and management of health services. It draws on research expertise from a range of backgrounds including economics, epidemiology, medicine, nursing, statistics and systematic reviews. Research is conducted in different settings such as academia, government, and clinical healthcare settings, with a multidisciplinary and diverse approach which includes medicine, psychology, sociology, statistics, public health, public policy and engineering.