Antisuperbugs: 3 million euros for technological innovation in the prevention of resistance of microorganisms to antibiotics

31 May

The healthcare market is one of the areas with the greatest purchasing impact in the public and private sector in Spain with a business turnover of 71 billion euros annually. It is a very complex market where the formulas used for purchasing both consumer goods and drugs, and services depend on the centres themselves. However, they also depend on the local regulations of suppliers, autonomous regions as well as state and community legislation.

This complexity does not only make it impossible for companies to make their products or services available to procurers but it is also often the interested parties in the purchasing that see the inclusion of these produces in their centre and their accessibility to their staff as a truly impossible mission.

And this is a whole lot more difficult when it comes to incorporating new technologies that meet the real needs of professionals.

In a panorama where investment in research and development is at its lowest point in recent decades, having a pre-commercial public procurement project subsidised by the European Union with 3 million euros is a big opportunity for companies that can offer their R+D services to create innovation which responds to the real needs of professionals.

An innovative public procurement project is an approach to innovation based on demand, where a group of procurers combine their resources to share risk in a joint R+D effort in the industry to provide solutions to needs which are not being met by the market. In the case of our project, it would be an ICT solution aimed at the early detection of microorganisms resistant to antibiotics (superbugs) in a healthcare environment, the Antisuperbugs project, coordinated by Jean Patrick Mathieu of the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS).

Antisuperbugs team (from left to right): Kristina Fogel, Sara Bedin, Maren Geissler, Dag Ilver, Benian Ghebremedhin, Jean Patrick Mathieu, Enric Limon, Gonçalo de Carvalho, Gemma Cabré, Esther Arévalo

The consortium coordinated by the AQuAS, an expert institution in the definition and execution of public procurement projects in innovation in Spain, consists of 6 contracting authorities (the Catalan Institute of Oncology IDIBELL (ES), Hospital Mútua of Terrassa (ES), Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UK), Helios Kliniken (DE), Universitaetsklinikum Aachen (DE) and Autonomous Province of Trento (IT)), and two expert institutions in their area of research at RISE ACREO (SE) and Sara Bedin (IT).

Enric Limon of the VINCat Programme (Surveillance of Infections) of the CatSalut, principal researcher of the project, sees having a detector of microorganisms resistant to antibiotics as a business opportunity for a company.  In the United States, Asian and European Union markets, solutions are being sought that will make it possible to have a rapid detection system that activates early detection mechanisms. The resistance of certain microorganisms to antibiotics is creating a situation of alarm across the world to which the World Health Organisation (WHO) itself has drawn attention, estimating a figure of 50 million deaths in the years to come if adequate measures are not taken. The successful tendering companies will not only have access to funding but also receive the support of hundreds of professionals from six European institutions at the highest level in research and a potential market in a first phase of hundreds of hospitals and healthcare centres interested in purchasing a solution that they themselves have helped create.

Gonçalo de Carvalho, expert biologist in resistances at the Catalan Institute of Oncology, explains the need for this project to consider the possibility of creating new modules that when applied to the technologies themselves enable new detections to be made which makes purchasing them even more attractive to health institutions by adapting them to their own needs.

The tender which will be opened to companies in the next few months forms part of the Pre-Commercial Public Procurement programmes funded within the European Commission’s H2020 framework of reference. All the information regarding the Antisuperbugs project and the tendering options are available on the website of the project.

Interested companies can access the questionnaire of the open call of the market.

There is also the option for companies to offer their availability by putting in a tender as a consortium.

Post written by Jean Patrick Mathieu, Enric Limon and Gonçalo de Carvalho.

Health and poverty are hereditary: can we remedy this?

17 May
Anna Garcia-Altés
Anna García-Altés

In recent years, child poverty has increased in Catalonia as a result of the economic crisis. According to the 2016 figures from the Idescat, the latest figures available, and from 2009, children are the group most at risk of poverty, more than the adult population and also more than the 65-year-old or older population group.

“Child health and poverty. What can we learn from the data?” was the title of the conference held within the framework of the Celebration of the 2018 World Health Day.

Data from the latest report related to children and the effects of the crisis on the health of the population were highlighted at the conference, published by the Observatory of the Health System of Catalonia: children with a lower socio-economic level present up to 5 times more morbidity, consume more pharmaceutical drugs (three times more psychotropic drugs) than the remainder of the child population, visit mental health centres more frequently (5.9% of girls and 11.4% of boys as opposed to 1.3% and 2.2% in girls and boys with a higher socio-economic level) and are admitted more to hospitals (45 girls and 58 boys for every 1000 as opposed to 13 and 26, respectively) especially for psychiatric reasons.

A child’s health largely depends on the economy of their parents and those that belong to families with a lower socio-economic level have more health problems, a fact that can have disastrous consequences in other areas such as education and social life and which condition their future. This fact is exacerbated in the case of children with special needs or chronic diseases where their health suffers even more from the effects of poverty because in some cases their care requires specific products which families cannot afford.

This is one of the problems that we are facing right now. There is growing scientific evidence, both in biology and in social sciences, of the importance of the early years in life (including exposure in the womb) in the development of the capacities that stimulate personal well-being throughout the life cycle. Childhood is also a structural transmitter of inequalities, both from a health and socio-economic point of view. If nothing is done, boys and girls who belong to families with few resources run the risk of growing up into adults with worse health and a lower educational and socio-economic level than others.

What can we do? We can of course strengthen the social welfare state, with structural and institutional reforms which are more than ever necessary. Educational policy is fundamental, especially by reinforcing primary education, guaranteeing equal opportunities and putting the spotlight on those children in a disadvantaged situation. Once they are adult, active labour policies are also needed. And from health policies, despite their eminently palliative nature, primary and community care is particularly important as is guaranteeing care to all children.

Post written by Anna García-Altés (@annagaal).

Conversations on gender in the nursing context

10 May
Marc Fortes, Núria Rodríguez-Valiente, Mercè Salvat

Like every 12 May, the International Nurses Day is celebrated and to commemorate this date, three colleagues in the profession, Mercè Salvat, Marc Fortes and Nuria Rodríguez got together to talk about the relationship between gender and giving care.

We would like to share our reflections on how socially, the profession has been related to vocation, altruism, submissiveness and invisibility…, in short, to the social stereotypes of the female gender.

Questions arose during this conversation such as why the term caregiving is associated with women in our society, why this care does not have nor has had social recognition when opinion is favourable in the processes of health-illness, how the men who have chosen this profession experience it and finally, how it would be possible to “deconstruct” this social and cultural construct.

Let’s take it a step at a time.

Why is the concept of caregiving associated with women in our society?

It is a historical fact that in our patriarchal society, women have been linked to the function of reproduction and taking care of the home. This care should be seen in its widest sense: from the routine chores of housekeeping, to curing and maintaining the health of older people, babies and family members who are ill. At the same time, they have been attributed with a whole series of connotations such as servitude, self-sacrifice, unconditional commitment and in short, of little value. On the other hand, in this context, men have been linked to productivity and the economic sustenance of the family and associated with professionalism and social prestige.

Why does this caregiving not have nor has had social prestige?

This deeply rooted social construct has normalised the idea of caregiving as something feminine. It is taken a step further by establishing stereotypes between that which is feminine, caregiving and the social vocation-intuition-servitude-invisibility. Finally, a symbolic association with essential professions in the care of people is made; this would be the case of nursing. In fact, the stereotyped identification of the profession is replicated socially and the role of the nurse is a professional continuation of home care (Germán, 2004).

In addition, to this collective worldview mentioned previously, we also need to add the sexual-recreational perspective of the profession which unfortunately continues to be present. An example, in the most recent cases, is the flu campaign of 2017 by the Ministry of Health and the TV programme Telepasión – El Musical 2017.

How do the men who have chosen this profession experience it?

This is a question we male nurses have always asked ourselves: What problem is there in carrying out this career? Would anybody have questioned my decision had I decided to be a doctor or pharmacist? This is the first battle to be fought by the men who decide to give care professionally to other people. It is not a battle against themselves but rather against established social prejudices. We will attempt to briefly summarise some of these prejudices:

– “To be able to care for someone, a special sensitivity is needed which only women have.” It appears that men are strong, do not waste time on feelings and of course never cry. Luckily, many of us have shown that professional care requires a set of skills which in the first place can be trained and which secondly do not depend on gender whatsoever, or, as Joan Tronto, the political scientist puts it: “Giving care is not more natural for women; they do it as a privilege for men.

– As we mentioned earlier, the social construct says that “men are the economic pillar of the family”. Nowadays, the average salary of a male nurse might not be enough to sustain a family. In our present day society we need to consider shared responsibility in family management.

– “Men that choose a profession of this type are not very masculine”; the social construct means that some men do not go into these professions because, from a social viewpoint, it is thought that their masculinity might be questioned and consequently, the superiority of gender too. What is more, this idea leads to the attribution of a sexual orientation because of belonging to this collective.

How can this social and cultural construct be deconstructed?

The “deconstruction” of this social construct should lead us towards the revolution of equating caregiving with healing from a human perspective and not from a gender perspective. To be able to give care, it is without doubt necessary to have a predisposition towards solidarity, an emotional commitment and flexibility but these grand values belong to humanity and not to any gender or profession. The perspective of gender is in itself enriching and should bestow on men and women the condition of equality when carrying out their chosen professions regardless of their gender.

In order to “deconstruct” the stereotype of gender in our patriarchal society, we should learn that giving care is a skill that people have and that it has nothing to do with the dichotomy of gender (Barragán, 2009). A feminine or masculine view regardless of sex is necessary in order to look at our profession historically and in terms of the future (Chamizo, 2004) and what is more, we feel the need to add that it is necessary in order to deal with the present and future of society.

In this respect, our proposals are a step towards the definition of a common strategic line proposed by professional colleges of health, where the democratic values which are imbued in taking care and in giving care are promoted.

Post written by Núria Rodríguez-Valiente, Marc Fortes and Mercè Salvat.

Who talks about what at EUnetHTA?

3 May
Marta Millaret

AQuAS is analysing the activities of dissemination of the EUnetHTA project, a European Joint Action comprised of 61 organisations from 29 countries and coordinated from the Zorginstituut Nederland in Holland. It is the European health technology assessment network.

Assessment, as Emmanuel Giménez talked about in this post,”can directly help in the practice, management and sustainability of different health systems” by providing the best available knowledge for taking decisions at different levels.

It is precisely on this subject that a proposal has recently been published regarding the regulation of drugs and health products within the framework of the European Commission and which is being debated and outlined for implementation.

The aim of the EUnetHTA project is to facilitate cooperation between different institutions in the field of health technology assessment to take advantage of expertise and useful knowledge to favour health systems which will consequently provide potential benefits for the health of citizens. It is about generating quality knowledge by using common methodologies in a systematic and transparent way and it is about doing this by working collaboratively and by avoiding duplicities.

AQuAS participates very actively in different work groups in the project (assessment, implementation, generation of evidence, dissemination) and today we are going to put the spotlight on the dissemination group, led by Iñaki Imaz of the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Institute of Health Carlos III) in Madrid. This work group has the challenge of communicating more and better regarding what the EUnetTHA project is.

To do this, there are different strategies and one of these is the assessment of the dissemination itself, a task led by AQuAS. To this end, the different activities are being brought together and a first analysis has been carried out which will be repeated every four months with the idea of obtaining recommendations and specific actions.

In the first intake, almost a 100 activities have been included. 78% correspond to the activities in scientific meetings (workshops, presentations, oral communications and posters); 5% are articles in scientific publications with an impact factor in the Journal Citation Reports and the remainder (17%) are other publications, e-meetings and activity done in social networks.

This analysis will make it possible to look at who disseminates, what is disseminated and where it is disseminated as well as looking at the content and who the majority target audience is of these dissemination activities within the framework of the EUnetHTA project. The results of the first analysis will be presented at the next general assembly of the project in Cologne (Germany) at the end of the month.

We feel that it is interesting to find the way to involve all those participating in facilitating the dissemination of the project so as to achieve a more active communication of the EUnetHTA project. Involvement in dissemination means getting the people that work on a project to disseminate both their work and their project at the same time. In this way, everyone stands to gain.

Will we succeed in getting all participants more involved in the activities of dissemination? Will our assessment serve to improve things? That is to be seen.

Post written by Marta Millaret (@MartaMillaret).

Post post Sant Jordi 2018

26 Apr

The subjects talked about in the blog of AQuAS often include links to reports, articles, webs and books. We have the tendency to cite recent articles and reports.

The blog is a space from which to present ideas and subjects in a general way in which the reader can later delve deeper depending on their interests (professional and personal), time available and enthusiasm.

Today we present a compilation of books which we have talked about in some way over the course of the last 12 months.

Thanks for reading us and sharing knowledge and literature.

Altmetrics: complementary metrics focused on the article

19 Apr
Ernest Abadal

The traditional system in assessing the quality of a scientific publication (a journal article, for example) has fundamentally been based on the calculation of the citations it generates. In an article published in Science (1995), Eugene Garfield (1925 – 2017) proposed a citation index as a system that would help authors find articles on a subject. It was a great innovation without doubt. Later, with the creation of the Institute for Scientific Information (today the Web of Science) and the Journal Citation Reports, this system became very prominent and centred its work on the assessment of journals because it helped authors decide in which journal to publish (based on the impact factor calculated for each one).It is a system that has been criticised from the humanities and social sciences and also because it does not focus on the article itself but instead gives the reference value to the journal in which it is published (and presupposes that an article should “inherit” the journal’s impact factor).

From 2010, people started talking about altmetrics, a set of indicators (for example, how often an article is shared, its re-dissemination, the comments it has generated, mentions (likes), etc…) that measure the presence of a publication in social and academic networks, which complement citation indexes considerably. Altmetrics, therefore, assess the repercussion of an article itself and not that of a journal as a whole (the way impact factors do, for example).

At present, several scientific editors have taken this information into consideration. One of the first examples was the journal PLOS, followed by Nature and others. Its use has also spread to data bases (e.g. Scopus) and to academic networks (e.g. ResearchGate). The altmetric data that accompany an article tend to have the sections that appear in figures 1 and 2, even though there can be small differences depending on the programme used (ImpactStory, PLUM, Article Level Metrics, altimetrics.com, etc…).

Figure 1.

Figure 1. Example of the altmetrics of an article in PLOS

And so we can see that it is not only the statistics of presence in social networks that are included (mentions, blogs, etc…) but also the use of data (visualisations and downloads) as well as the citations of an article (in Scopus, CrossRef, PubMed, GoogleScholar, etc…). We are talking about very complete quantitative information for the reader and also for the author of the article.

Figure 2. Example of the altmetrics of an article in Nature

In the case of Nature (figure 2) there is also a graphic representation in the form of a circle or “ring” in which each colour is a type of channel (twitter, blogs, facebook, wikipedia, etc…), where a contextualised percentage is given in relation to articles which are similar in age and it also indicates its precise presence in the general media (“news articles”) and scientific blogs.

Let us do a quick assessment of altmetrics. Their main strengths lie in the fact that they measure the impact of publications beyond academic circles, strictly speaking, that they can be applied to all types of documents (be it an article, a book or a doctoral thesis), that the results are immediate (there is no need to wait for the annual value of the impactor factor) and that they focus on the article (and not on the journal).

In terms of their weak points, it should be said that the indicators need to be collected very quickly (they are very volatile), that it is difficult to compare the indicators between each other (which is of more value, a retweet or a “like”?), that there is great difficulty in the normalisation and homogeneity when collecting data (which does not occur in the case of citations) and that different measuring tools produce different results (e.g. ImpactStory or Altmetrics).

Altmetrics, therefore, help to measure the impact of a specific publication in social networks. This is why we should define them as complementary metrics rather than alternative metrics. In contrast to the traditional impact factor – which is applied to a journal – altmetrics are centred on the article and this is a significant innovation. Despite them having some weak points they are in a consolidation phase and have long-term potential.

From a researcher’s perspective, it is clear that at present publishing an article in a journal is not enough and one needs to be fully involved in its dissemination in social networks (especially Twitter, blogs, etc…) and also in academic networks (Researchgate, Mendeley, etc…) so as to give visibility to the contents published. In this new scenario, altmetrics are fundamental because they are able to measure this impact in networks and offer authors (and readers) a general view of the dissemination of their publications.

Post by Ernest Abadal, Faculty of Library and Information Science, University of Barcelona.

A debate with Vinay Prasad on the value of clinical practice and the training of doctors

12 Apr
Jordi Varela

Vinay Prasad (University of Oregon) and Adam Cifu (University of Chicago), authors of Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives (John Hopkins University Press, 2015), highlight 146 clinical practices that should be stopped because it has been shown that they do not achieve that which they set out to do. The list of these practices affects the whole range of health activities, but on reading more closely, there are four specialities that stand out: cardiology, gynaecology, orthopaedics and family medicine.

It is for this reason that the Clinical Management Section of the Catalan Society of Health Management has organised, by agreement with the Essencial Project of the AQuAS, a debate with one of the authors of the book, Vinay Prasad, and representatives of the 4 specialities mentioned previously. It is to be held at their Annual Meeting next 18 May with the participation of: Xavier Viñolas, president of the Catalan Society of Cardiology, Juan José Espinós, gynaecologist at the Hospital Sant Pau, Joan Miquel, orthopaedist at the Hospital of Igualada and Marta Expósito of the Catalan Society of Family and Community Medicine.

Vinay Prasad

The aim of the debate, which will be moderated by Sandra García Armesto, director of the Aragonese Institute of Health Sciences (IACS), is not only to get to know the work of Vinay Prasad firsthand but also to know what the related specialists think about these practices and what their impact is in our environment, in so many aspects different to that of the United States.

On the other hand, Prasad and Cifu propose in their book to modify the training programmes in medical faculties in a significant way, with the aim of training up new doctors who are more demanding of scientific rigour, more critical of low-value practices, more sensitive to the needs of patients and more oriented towards the assessment of results. The proposed formula is very simple: clinical sciences should be a priority, while basic sciences (as we understand them today) should be complementary.

It is not about studying models first to later verify them (present system), but rather doing it the other way round: based on clinical learning, theories should be reviewed (or accepted).

Given the importance of the proposal, we thought it appropriate to organise a second debate, within the framework of the meeting itself, moderated by Xavier Bayona, with the participation of three academic authorities in the training of doctors: Francesc Cardellach (University of Barcelona), Ramon Pujol (University of Vic) and Milagros García Barbero, president of the Spanish Society of Medical Education, and of course, logically, inviting Vinay Prasad to join in.

The programme for the Meeting is attached, with the clear aim of encouraging all the readers of this blog to register for it because the opportunity to listen to and make questions to Vinay Prasad, and all the invited speakers, should not be missed.

Post by Jordi Varela, president of the Clinical Management Section of the Catalan Society of Health Management.

Nurses in Barcelona adopt the culture of dialogue to define their professional future

5 Apr
Glòria Novel and Núria Cuxart

Asking ourselves questions, reformulating questions, rethinking the way we want to be, what we need and how we want society to know and see us. This is, without doubt, a difficult exercise to carry out as individuals but it is even more difficult to do this as a profession.

Agreeing with each other is by no means easy. Training, method and a desire to do so is needed. Having these premises clear, we initiated the RESET project at the Official College of nurses of Barcelona (COIB).

Guided by the company Diàlegs, specialised in mediation in health, we initiated an unprecedented process of participation in the nursing profession during which we went out into the territory to find out what the concerns, needs, wishes, complaints and proposals of nurses in the province of Barcelona were.

The process lasted the whole of 2017, after which our corporation was given the commission to develop the strategic lines on which the college members of Barcelona want us to work along with thousands of ideas that they would like to process.

The difficulty of the project was considerable. Apart from the geographical distances that existed and the difficulties in getting nurses involved, there was the added difficulty of coming up with a dynamic that had to be participative so as to facilitate environments of conversation, discussion and consensus among the hundreds of female and male nurses who have different professional realities and therefore varying priorities.

The Diàlegs company took on the challenge of making it possible by means of a process lasting 12 months during which participative methodologies were used to define the profession as it is today and that of the desired future. The framework for the project was based on the principles, values and methodologies of mediation, which led to a broad and necessarily inclusive view of the differences and susceptibilities of the nursing community.

The RESET project was carried out in three different stages: in the first stage, open debates were set up in circles of group discussion. The circles enabled a comprehensive collection of very valuable data which formed the basis on which to develop the following stages that consisted of two days of consensus: one to agree on the diagnosis of the situation the profession finds itself in now and another to define the future, with the aims and lines of action to be developed.

As a result of these three stages of the RESET project, 52 group discussion circles with 925 participants were set up, that is, with people who participated one or more times. 3,762 ideas were collected as well as some proposals for the future, with nine thematic areas and 65 lines of action decided on by agreement. The level of satisfaction was very high and the participants showed a high level of interest in continuing in the project, repeating participations in the three stages.

It must be said that the key to the success of the process was the large number of people that committed themselves to the project right from the start. We are referring to what we called the Driving Group made up of 208 people (with representatives from all over the territory, all positions and susceptibilities) who worked from the start both in the co-design of specific aspects as well as in the diffusion, organisation of group discussion circles and participation in the events for consensus.

Beyond the results of the RESET project, which are, in the end, a commitment to change with implications for the upcoming years, we still have much to learn and this can no doubt be extrapolated to the professional disciplines in health in which we are organised through colleges. We need to continue asking ourselves questions both in and out of the college organisations to positively drive change and development in all the aspects which bring us together as professionals. Continuity in the culture of dialogue is one of the most important challenges that came out of this fascinating process. This was the message that the nurses who worked in the Reset Project gave us. Therefore, from the COIB, this is our commitment.

Post written by Núria Cuxart Ainaud, director of programmes at the COIB, and Glòria Novel Martí, founding director of Diàlegs.

Is assessment still the pending issue of health apps?

22 Mar
Marta Millaret

An article in JAMA has recently been published presenting the first smart watch approved by the FDA to predict epileptic seizures. It is called Embrace, a connected device which detects seizures linked to movement and electric fluctuations in the skin of a person and sends an alert so they can receive medical attention.

Last February, the Mobile World Congress was held in Barcelona. Among the different activities to be highlighted which are organised around this congress there is one called 4 Years From Now (#4YFN18), the part of the Mobile which connects companies, investors and institutions with each other to encourage collaboration in developing different ideas, business models and technological solutions.

The Digital Health & Wellness Summit 2018, organised by 4YFN Connecting Startups, the Mobile World Capital Barcelona and the Mobile World Congress with the collaboration of ECHAlliance, the European Connected Health Alliance, is the meeting point of technological and health issues. This year, among others, Neil Gomes, Maria Salido and Elena Torrente participated.

Neil Gomes from the Thomas Jefferson University of the USA pointed out that one of the challenges in mHealth is facilitating feedback between patients and health professionals.

Maria Salido, co-founder and CEO of the health app, SocialDiabetes, raised key issues for success with health apps: regulation + industry + users. And in particular, she highlighted the importance of the final users. An article published in The Economist was much commented on here with a provocative title:

Elena Torrente, Digital Health Coordinator at DKV, commented on Digital Doctor, a health app that incorporates a detector of symptoms and a tool to request a doctor’s appointment. She pointed out that there were more women than men in the user profile of the app.

In general, there was consensus on the fact that prior to developing an app, an analysis to identify needs must be done. That is, the first step should be to detect the needs of a user and then, based on the mapping of these needs, the moment would come to develop technological solutions.

The content of all these presentations is available and you can also read a compilation of the main ideas that were highlighted here and here.

Despite it not being the main subject of their presentations, in the follow up debate the need and convenience of assessment was brought up. At present, there are already 320,000 health apps on the market. But,… How are they assessed? Who does this? With what criteria? Can we already talk about the safe prescription of health apps?

We close the circle once again with the conceptual framework of mHealth Assessment published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth with which the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS) provides the culture of assessment to the everyday reality in which we find ourselves (in 2016 it was published in the first quartile, in the categories “Health Care Sciences & Services” and “Medical Informatics”, respectively, in the Journal Citation Reports). There are an increasing number of health apps and the debate concerning their assessment remains open.

Post written by Marta Millaret (@MartaMillaret).

Towards research in nursing with a (greater) impact

15 Mar
Núria Radó

What is it that makes a particular research have an impact on society beyond the strictly academic and which is truly transformative? Can a whole series of actions be planned in the way that one follows a cooking recipe which leads directly to the desired social impact? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The impact is multifactorial and depends on so many different elements and actors that it is difficult to establish a formula to guarantee it.

However, having said that, the fact that there is research which has a particular social impact does not mean that it is a totally random phenomenon and that there is no way of predicting, facilitating or promoting it. Years ago, from the Research Assessment group at the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS), and with the help and complicity of the International School on Research Impact Assessment, ISRIA, we identified a series of facilitators with regards the impact of research.

A fundamental facilitator is people, and the values, culture and capacity of leadership they have. Two identical results of research can have different impacts if the capacity of leadership, drive and will to get beyond academic impact is different. But this is still not enough. The strategy, organisation, collaborations and openness that institutions have will be a great facilitator or barrier for the researchers that have carried out the research.

Finally, both people and institutions will need two indispensable elements in order to aspire to having an impact: on the one hand, a close and effective communication with the different social actors that can play a role in transferring the results of research, and on the other, an approach focused on the participation of all these key players.

To paraphrase Confucius when he said “explain it to me and I will forget, show me and maybe I will remember, involve me and I will understand”, it is all about involving all the necessary actors to bring about a real change and make research transformative.

It is in this context that SARIS (Catalan acronym) came into being, the Assessment System of Research and Innovation in Health. It is a strategic tool which emerged from the PERIS (Strategic Plan for Research and Innovation in Health 2016-2020) with the aim of assessing the research carried out in health in Catalonia from the perspective of always wanting to facilitate and influence so that it has an impact beyond academia. To do this, the motivation and involvement of actors has been defined as a key factor for its development.

Last November, we started a series of participative sessions with nurses who were selected from the PERIS 2017 call in which a line of intensification of nursing professionals was financed.

It is important to emphasise that launching this line with nursing research makes full sense for three reasons: on the one hand, one of the thematic priorities of the PERIS is clearly that of “the development of clinical and translational research which facilitates the growth of scientific and technological knowledge, putting special emphasis on primary care agents and research in nursing”. In addition, the PERIS 2017 nursing fund has been the first to come to an end and it was appropriate to address ourselves to them first and foremost.

Last but not least, the conditions in which nursing research is carried out, with patients and their recovery as its central goal, makes it especially appropriate to ensure that this research has a direct impact on health. Hence, it is important that the research done in nursing be capable of demonstrating the impact that this group of professionals has because it can give it a comparative advantage with regards other biomedical disciplines. Indeed, nursing research is intrinsically translational.

Therefore, the first session centred on identifying the influential actors and in empowering the nurse to carry out an effective communication which amplifies the productive interactions needed to transform the results obtained into benefits for a better and improved health for patients.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the nurses for their participation (readiness and motivation) who attended of their own free will and in their time off work ensuring thus that the session was a success. This demonstrates that from the AQuAS we have leverage to give support to those researchers who are motivated to driving the impact of their research.

At present, we are preparing other sessions that will enable mutual learning between researchers and the assessment agents at the AQuAS.

Post written by Núria Radó Trilla (@nuriarado).

Jornada SARIS: Participación en recerca Barcelona, April 4th 2018.