Found 11196 matches for
Designing assisted living technologies 'in the wild': Preliminary experiences with cultural probe methodology
Background: There is growing interest in assisted living technologies to support independence at home. Such technologies should ideally be designed 'in the wild' i.e. taking account of how real people live in real homes and communities. The ATHENE (Assistive Technologies for Healthy Living in Elders: Needs Assessment by Ethnography) project seeks to illuminate the living needs of older people and facilitate the co-production with older people of technologies and services. This paper describes the development of a cultural probe tool produced as part of the ATHENE project and how it was used to support home visit interviews with elders with a range of ethnic and social backgrounds, family circumstances, health conditions and assisted living needs. Method. Thirty one people aged 60 to 98 were visited in their homes on three occasions. Following an initial interview, participants were given a set of cultural probe materials, including a digital camera and the 'Home and Life Scrapbook' to complete in their own time for one week. Activities within the Home and Life Scrapbook included maps (indicating their relationships to people, places and objects), lists (e.g. likes, dislikes, things they were concerned about, things they were comfortable with), wishes (things they wanted to change or improve), body outline (indicating symptoms or impairments), home plan (room layouts of their homes to indicate spaces and objects used) and a diary. After one week, the researcher and participant reviewed any digital photos taken and the content of the Home and Life Scrapbook as part of the home visit interview. Findings. The cultural probe facilitated collection of visual, narrative and material data by older people, and appeared to generate high levels of engagement from some participants. However, others used the probe minimally or not at all for various reasons including limited literacy, physical problems (e.g. holding a pen), lack of time or energy, limited emotional or psychological resources, life events, and acute illness. Discussions between researchers and participants about the materials collected (and sometimes about what had prevented them completing the tasks) helped elicit further information relevant to assisted living technology design. The probe materials were particularly helpful when having conversations with non-English speaking participants through an interpreter. Conclusions: Cultural probe methods can help build a rich picture of the lives and experiences of older people to facilitate the co-production of assisted living technologies. But their application may be constrained by the participant's physical, mental and emotional capacity. They are most effective when used as a tool to facilitate communication and development of a deeper understanding of older people's needs. © 2012 Wherton et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Rethinking resistance to ‘big IT’: a sociological study of why and when healthcare staff do not use nationally mandated information and communication technologies
Nationally mandated information and communication technology (ICT) systems are often locally resented and little used. This problem is sometimes framed in behaviourist terms, depicting the intended user of technology as a rational actor whose resistance stems from Luddism and/or ignorance, and viewing solutions in terms of training, incentives and sanctions. The implication is that if we get the ‘rewards’ and ‘punishments’ right, people will use technologies. Previous research in the social sciences, notably sociotechnical systems theory, actor–network theory and normalisation process theory, have considered the human, social and organisational context of technology use (and non-use). However, these have all had limitations in explaining the particular phenomenon of resistance to nationally mandated ICT systems.To develop a sociologically informed theory of resistance to nationally mandated ICT systems.We drew on Anthony Giddens’ notion of expert systems (comprising bureaucratic rules and classification systems delivered through technology) as well as theories of professional roles and ethical practice. A defining characteristic of expert systems is that they can produce ‘action at a distance’, allowing managerial control to be exerted over local practice. To the extent that people use them as intended, these systems invariably ‘empty out’ social situations by imposing rules and categories that are insensitive to local contingencies or the unfolding detail of social situations.Secondary analysis of data from case studies of three nationally mandated ICT systems in the English NHS, collected over the period 2007–10.Our analysis focused mainly on the Choose and Book system for outpatient referrals, introduced in 2004, which remained unpopular and little used throughout the period of our research (i.e. 2007–13). We identified four foci of resistance: to the policy of choice that Choose and Book symbolised and purported to deliver; to accommodating the technology’s sociomaterial constraints; to interference with doctors’ contextual judgements; and to adjusting to the altered social relations consequent on its use. More generally, use of the mandated system tended to constrain practice towards a focus on (the efficiency of) means rather than (the moral value of) ends. A similar pattern of complex sociological reasons for resistance was also seen in the other two technologies studied (electronic templates for chronic disease management and the Summary Care Record), though important differences surfaced and were explained in terms of the policy inscribed in the technology and its material features.‘Resistance’ is a complex phenomenon with sociomaterial and normative components; it is unlikely to be overcome using atheoretical behaviourist techniques. To guide the study of resistance to ICT systems in health care, we offer a new theoretical and empirical approach, based around a set of questions about the policy that the technology is intended to support; the technology’s material properties; the balance between (bureaucratic) means and (professional) ends; and the implications for social roles, relationship and interactions. We suggest avenues for future research, including methodology (e.g. extending the scope and scale of ethnographic research in ICT infrastracture), theory development (e.g. relating to the complexities of multi-professional team working) and empirical (e.g. how our findings might inform the design and implementation of technologies that are less likely to be resisted).The National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research programme.
The impact on healthcare, policy and practice from 36 multi-project research programmes: Findings from two reviews
© 2017 The Author(s). Background: We sought to analyse the impacts found, and the methods used, in a series of assessments of programmes and portfolios of health research consisting of multiple projects. Methods: We analysed a sample of 36 impact studies of multi-project research programmes, selected from a wider sample of impact studies included in two narrative systematic reviews published in 2007 and 2016. We included impact studies in which the individual projects in a programme had been assessed for wider impact, especially on policy or practice, and where findings had been described in such a way that allowed them to be collated and compared. Results: Included programmes were highly diverse in terms of location (11 different countries plus two multi-country ones), number of component projects (8 to 178), nature of the programme, research field, mode of funding, time between completion and impact assessment, methods used to assess impact, and level of impact identified. Thirty-one studies reported on policy impact, 17 on clinician behaviour or informing clinical practice, three on a combined category such as policy and clinician impact, and 12 on wider elements of impact (health gain, patient benefit, improved care or other benefits to the healthcare system). In those multi-programme projects that assessed the respective categories, the percentage of projects that reported some impact was policy 35% (range 5-100%), practice 32% (10-69%), combined category 64% (60-67%), and health gain/health services 27% (6-48%). Variations in levels of impact achieved partly reflected differences in the types of programme, levels of collaboration with users, and methods and timing of impact assessment. Most commonly, principal investigators were surveyed; some studies involved desk research and some interviews with investigators and/or stakeholders. Most studies used a conceptual framework such as the Payback Framework. One study attempted to assess the monetary value of a research programme's health gain. Conclusion: The widespread impact reported for some multi-project programmes, including needs-led and collaborative ones, could potentially be used to promote further research funding. Moves towards greater standardisation of assessment methods could address existing inconsistencies and better inform strategic decisions about research investment; however, unresolved issues about such moves remain.
© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Supported self-management has been recommended by asthma guidelines for three decades; improving current suboptimal implementation will require commitment from professionals, patients and healthcare organisations. The Practical Systematic Review of Self-Management Support (PRISMS) meta-review and Reducing Care Utilisation through Self-management Interventions (RECURSIVE) health economic review were commissioned to provide a systematic overview of supported self-management to inform implementation. We sought to investigate if supported asthma self-management reduces use of healthcare resources and improves asthma control; for which target groups it works; and which components and contextual factors contribute to effectiveness. Finally, we investigated the costs to healthcare services of providing supported self-management. Methods: We undertook a meta-review (systematic overview) of systematic reviews updated with randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published since the review search dates, and health economic meta-analysis of RCTs. Twelve electronic databases were searched in 2012 (updated in 2015; pre-publication update January 2017) for systematic reviews reporting RCTs (and update RCTs) evaluating supported asthma self-management. We assessed the quality of included studies and undertook a meta-analysis and narrative synthesis. Results: A total of 27 systematic reviews (n = 244 RCTs) and 13 update RCTs revealed that supported self-management can reduce hospitalisations, accident and emergency attendances and unscheduled consultations, and improve markers of control and quality of life for people with asthma across a range of cultural, demographic and healthcare settings. Core components are patient education, provision of an action plan and regular professional review. Self-management is most effective when delivered in the context of proactive long-term condition management. The total cost (n = 24 RCTs) of providing self-management support is offset by a reduction in hospitalisations and accident and emergency visits (standard mean difference 0.13, 95% confidence interval -0.09 to 0.34). Conclusions: Evidence from a total of 270 RCTs confirms that supported self-management for asthma can reduce unscheduled care and improve asthma control, can be delivered effectively for diverse demographic and cultural groups, is applicable in a broad range of clinical settings, and does not significantly increase total healthcare costs. Informed by this comprehensive synthesis of the literature, clinicians, patient-interest groups, policy-makers and providers of healthcare services should prioritise provision of supported self-management for people with asthma as a core component of routine care. Systematic review registration: RECURSIVE: PROSPERO CRD42012002694 ; PRISMS: PROSPERO does not register meta-reviews
The bright elusive butterfly of value in health technology development: Comment on “providing value to new health technology: The early contribution of entrepreneurs, investors, and regulatory agencies”
© 2018 The Author(s). The current system of health technology development is characterised by multiple misalignments. The “supply” side (innovation policy-makers, entrepreneurs, investors) and the “demand” side (health policy-makers, regulators, health technology assessment, purchasers) operate under different – and conflicting – logics. The system is less a “pathway” than an unstable ecosystem of multiple interacting sub-systems. “Value” means different things to each of the numerous actors involved. Supply-side dynamics are built on fictions; regulatory checks and balances are designed to assure quality, safety and efficacy, not to ensure that technologies entering the market are either desirable or cost-effective. Assessment of comparative and cost-effectiveness usually comes too late in the process to shape an innovation’s development. We offer no simple solutions to these problems, but in the spirit of commencing a much-needed public debate, we suggest some tentative ways forward. First, universities and public research funders should play a more proactive role in shaping the system. Second, the role of industry in forging long-term strategic partnerships for public benefit should be acknowledged (though not uncritically). Third, models of “responsible innovation” and public input to research priority-setting should be explored. Finally, the evidence base on how best to govern inter-sectoral health research partnerships should be developed and applied.
© 2017 The Authors. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Evidence-based health care (EBHC), previously evidence-based medicine (EBM), is considered by many to have modernized health care and brought it from an authority-based past to a more rationalist, scientific grounding. But recent concerns and criticisms pose serious challenges and urge us to look at the fundamentals of a changing EBHC. In this paper, we present French philosopher Bruno Latour's vision on modernity as a framework to discuss current changes in the discourse on EBHC/EBM. Drawing on Latour's work, we argue that the early EBM movement had a strong modernist agenda with an aim to “purify” clinical reality into a dichotomy of objective “evidence” from nature and subjective “preferences” from human society and culture. However, we argue that this shift has proved impossible to achieve in reality. Several recent developments appear to point to a demise of purified evidence in the EBHC discourse and a growing recognition—albeit implicit and undertheorized—that evidence in clinical decision making is relentlessly situated and contextual. The unique, individual patient, not abstracted truths from distant research studies, must be the starting point for clinical practice. It follows that the EBHC community needs to reconsider the assumption that science should be abstracted from culture and acknowledge that knowledge from human culture and nature both need translation and interpretation. The implications for clinical reasoning are far reaching. We offer some preliminary principles for conceptualizing EBHC as a “situated practice” rather than as a sequence of research-driven abstract decisions.
Group clinics for young adults with diabetes in an ethnically diverse, socioeconomically deprived setting (TOGETHER study): Protocol for a realist review, co-design and mixed methods, participatory evaluation of a new care model
© 2017 Article author(s). Introduction Young adults with diabetes often report dissatisfaction with care and have poor diabetes-related health outcomes. As diabetes prevalence continues to rise, group-based care could provide a sustainable alternative to traditional one-to-one consultations, by engaging young people through life stage-, context- and culturally-sensitive approaches. In this study, we will co-design and evaluate a group-based care model for young adults with diabetes and complex health and social needs in socioeconomically deprived areas. Methods and analysis This participatory study will include three phases. In phase 1, we will carry out a realist review to synthesise the literature on group-based care for young adults with diabetes. This theory-driven understanding will provide the basis for phase 2, where we will draw on experience-based co-design methodologies to develop a new, group-based care model for young adults (aged <25 years, under the care of adult diabetes services). In phase 3, we will use a researcher-in-residence approach to implement and evaluate the co-designed group clinic model and compare with traditional care. We will employ qualitative (observations in clinics, patient and staff interviews and document analysis) and quantitative methods (eg, biological markers, patient enablement instrument and diabetes distress scale), including a cost analysis. Ethics and dissemination National Health Service ethics approval has been granted (reference 17/NI/0019). The project will directly inform service redesign to better meet the needs of young adults with diabetes in socioeconomically deprived areas and may guide a possible cluster-randomised trial, powered to clinical and cost-effectiveness outcomes. Findings from this study may be transferable to other long-term conditions and/or age groups. Project outputs will include briefing statements, summaries and academic papers, tailored for different audiences, including people living with diabetes, clinicians, policy makers and strategic decision makers.
© The Author(s). 2017. Background: Enthusiasts for telehealth extol its potential for supporting heart failure management. But randomised trials have been slow to recruit and produced conflicting findings; real-world roll-out has been slow. We sought to inform policy by making sense of a complex literature on heart failure and its remote management. Methods: Through database searching and citation tracking, we identified 7 systematic reviews of systematic reviews, 32 systematic reviews (including 17 meta-analyses and 8 qualitative reviews); six mega-trials and over 60 additional relevant empirical studies and commentaries. We synthesised these using Boell's hermeneutic methodology for systematic review, which emphasises the quest for understanding. Results: Heart failure is a complex and serious condition with frequent co-morbidity and diverse manifestations including severe tiredness. Patients are often frightened, bewildered, socially isolated and variably able to selfmanage. Remote monitoring technologies are many and varied; they create new forms of knowledge and new possibilities for care but require fundamental changes to clinical roles and service models and place substantial burdens on patients, carers and staff. The policy innovation of remote biomarker monitoring enabling timely adjustment of medication, mediated by "activated" patients, is based on a modernist vision of efficient, rational, technology-mediated and guideline-driven ("cold") care. It contrasts with relationship-based ("warm") care valued by some clinicians and by patients who are older, sicker and less technically savvy. Limited uptake of telehealth can be analysed in terms of key tensions: between tidy, "textbook" heart failure and the reality of multiple comorbidities; between basic and intensive telehealth; between activated, well-supported patients and vulnerable, unsupported ones; between "cold" and "warm" telehealth; and between fixed and agile care programmes. Conclusion: The limited adoption of telehealth for heart failure has complex clinical, professional and institutional causes, which are unlikely to be elucidated by adding more randomised trials of technology-on versus technologyoff to an already-crowded literature. An alternative approach is proposed, based on naturalistic study designs, application of social and organisational theory, and co-design of new service models based on socio-technical principles. Conventional systematic reviews (whose goal is synthesising data) can be usefully supplemented by hermeneutic reviews (whose goal is deepening understanding).
Preventing type 2 diabetes: Systematic review of studies of cost-effectiveness of lifestyle programmes and metformin, with and without screening, for pre-diabetes
© 2017 Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article). All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted. Objective Explore the cost-effectiveness of lifestyle interventions and metformin in reducing subsequent incidence of type 2 diabetes, both alone and in combination with a screening programme to identify high-risk individuals. Design Systematic review of economic evaluations. Data sources and eligibility criteria Database searches (Embase, Medline, PreMedline, NHS EED) and citation tracking identified economic evaluations of lifestyle interventions or metformin alone or in combination with screening programmes in people at high risk of developing diabetes. The International Society for Pharmaco-economics and Outcomes Research's Questionnaire to Assess Relevance and Credibility of Modelling Studies for Informing Healthcare Decision Making was used to assess study quality. Results 27 studies were included; all had evaluated lifestyle interventions and 12 also evaluated metformin. Primary studies exhibited considerable heterogeneity in definitions of pre-diabetes and intensity and duration of lifestyle programmes. Lifestyle programmes and metformin appeared to be cost effective in preventing diabetes in high-risk individuals (median incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of £7490/quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) and £8428/QALY, respectively) but economic estimates varied widely between studies. Intervention-only programmes were in general more cost effective than programmes that also included a screening component. The longer the period evaluated, the more cost-effective interventions appeared. In the few studies that evaluated other economic considerations, budget impact of prevention programmes was moderate (0.13%-0.2% of total healthcare budget), financial payoffs were delayed (by 9-14 years) and impact on incident cases of diabetes was limited (0.1%-1.6% reduction). There was insufficient evidence to answer the question of (1) whether lifestyle programmes are more cost effective than metformin or (2) whether low-intensity lifestyle interventions are more cost effective than the more intensive lifestyle programmes that were tested in trials. Conclusions The economics of preventing diabetes are complex. There is some evidence that diabetes prevention programmes are cost effective, but the evidence base to date provides few clear answers regarding design of prevention programmes because of differences in denominator populations, definitions, interventions and modelling assumptions.
BACKGROUND: Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) are partnerships between healthcare organisations and universities in England. Their mission is to generate novel treatments, technologies, diagnostics and other interventions that increase the country's international competitiveness, to rapidly translate these innovations into benefits for patients, and to improve efficiency and reduce waste in healthcare. As NIHR Oxford BRC (Oxford BRC) enters its third 5-year funding period, we seek to (1) apply the evidence base on how best to support the various partnerships in this large, multi-stakeholder research system and (2) research how these partnerships play out in a new, ambitious programme of translational research.METHODS: Organisational case study, informed by the principles of action research. A cross-cutting theme, 'Partnerships for Health, Wealth and Innovation' has been established with multiple sub-themes (drug development, device development, business support and commercialisation, research methodology and statistics, health economics, bioethics, patient and public involvement and engagement, knowledge translation, and education and training) to support individual BRC research themes and generate cross-theme learning. The 'Partnerships' theme will support the BRC's goals by facilitating six types of partnership (with patients and citizens, clinical services, industry, across the NIHR infrastructure, across academic disciplines, and with policymakers and payers) through a range of engagement platforms and activities. We will develop a longitudinal progress narrative centred around exemplar case studies, and apply theoretical models from innovation studies (Triple Helix), sociology of science (Mode 2 knowledge production) and business studies (Value Co-creation). Data sources will be the empirical research studies within individual BRC research themes (who will apply separately for NHS ethics approval), plus documentary analysis and interviews and ethnography with research stakeholders. This study has received ethics clearance through the University of Oxford Central University Research Ethics Committee.DISCUSSION: We anticipate that this work will add significant value to Oxford BRC. We predict accelerated knowledge translation; closer alignment of the innovation process with patient priorities and the principles of responsible, ethical research; reduction in research waste; new knowledge about the governance and activities of multi-stakeholder research partnerships and the contexts in which they operate; and capacity-building that reflects the future needs of a rapidly-evolving health research system.
Background: Health and care technologies often succeed on a small scale but fail to achieve widespread use (scale-up) or become routine practice in other settings (spread). One reason for this is under-theorization of the process of scale-up and spread, for which a potentially fruitful theoretical approach is to consider the adoption and use of technologies as social practices. Objective: This study aimed to use an in-depth case study of assisted living to explore the feasibility and usefulness of a social practice approach to explaining the scale-up of an assisted-living technology across a local system of health and social care. Methods: This was an individual case study of the implementation of a Global Positioning System (GPS) "geo-fence" for a person living with dementia, nested in a much wider program of ethnographic research and organizational case study of technology implementation across health and social care (Studies in Co-creating Assisted Living Solutions [SCALS] in the United Kingdom). A layered sociological analysis included micro-level data on the index case, meso-level data on the organization, and macro-level data on the wider social, technological, economic, and political context. Data (interviews, ethnographic notes, and documents) were analyzed and synthesized using structuration theory. Results: A social practice lens enabled the uptake of the GPS technology to be studied in the context of what human actors found salient, meaningful, ethical, legal, materially possible, and professionally or culturally appropriate in particular social situations. Data extracts were used to illustrate three exemplar findings. First, professional practice is (and probably always will be) oriented not to "implementing technologies" but to providing excellent, ethical care to sick and vulnerable individuals. Second, in order to "work," health and care technologies rely heavily on human relationships and situated knowledge. Third, such technologies do not just need to be adopted by individuals; they need to be incorporated into personal habits and collaborative routines (both lay and professional). Conclusions: Health and care technologies need to be embedded within sociotechnical networks and made to work through situated knowledge, personal habits, and collaborative routines. A technology that "works" for one individual in a particular set of circumstances is unlikely to work in the same way for another in a different set of circumstances. We recommend the further study of social practices and the application of co-design principles. However, our findings suggest that even if this occurs, the scale-up and spread of many health and care technologies will be neither rapid nor smooth.
The clinical academic workforce of the future: A cross-sectional study of factors influencing career decision-making among clinical PhD students at two research-intensive UK universities
© 2017 Article author(s). All rights reserved. Objectives To examine clinical doctoral students' demographic and training characteristics, career intentions, career preparedness and what influences them as they plan their future careers. Design and setting Online cross-sectional census surveys at two research-intensive medical schools in England in 2015-2016. Participants All medically qualified PhD students (N=523) enrolled at the University of Oxford and University College London were invited to participate. We report on data from 320 participants (54% male and 44% female), who were representative by gender of the invited population. Main outcome measures Career intentions. Results Respondents were mainly in specialty training, including close to training completion (25%, n=80), and 18% (n=57) had completed training. Half (50%, n=159) intended to pursue a clinical academic career (CAC) and 62% (n=198) were at least moderately likely to seek a clinical lectureship (CL). However, 51% (n=163) had little or no knowledge about CL posts. Those wanting a CAC tended to have the most predoctoral medical research experience (Χ 2 (2, N=305)=22.19, p=0.0005). Key reasons cited for not pursuing a CAC were the small number of senior academic appointments available, the difficulty of obtaining research grants and work-life balance. Conclusions Findings suggest that urging predoctoral clinicians to gain varied research experience while ensuring availability of opportunities, and introducing more flexible recruitment criteria for CL appointments, would foster CACs. As CL posts are often only open to those still in training, the many postdoctoral clinicians who have completed training, or nearly done so, do not currently gain the opportunity the post offers to develop as independent researchers. Better opportunities should be accompanied by enhanced career support for clinical doctoral students (eg, to increase knowledge of CLs). Finally, ways to increase the number of senior clinical academic appointments should be explored since their lack seems to significantly influence career decisions.
Equipping community pharmacy workers as agents for health behaviour change: Developing and testing a theory-based smoking cessation intervention
© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted. Objective To develop a complex intervention for community pharmacy staff to promote uptake of smoking cessation services and to increase quit rates. Design Following the Medical Research Council framework, we used a mixed-methods approach to develop, pilot and then refine the intervention. Methods Phase I: We used information from qualitative studies in pharmacies, systematic literature reviews and the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation - Behaviour framework to inform design of the initial version of the intervention. Phase II: We then tested the acceptability of this intervention with smoking cessation advisers and assessed fidelity using actors who visited pharmacies posing as smokers, in a pilot study. Phase III: We reviewed the content and associated theory underpinning our intervention, taking account of the results of the earlier studies and a realist analysis of published literature. We then confirmed a logic model describing the intended operation of the intervention and used this model to refine the intervention and associated materials. Setting Eight community pharmacies in three inner east London boroughs. Participants 12 Stop Smoking Advisers. Intervention Two, 150 min, skills-based training sessions focused on communication and behaviour change skills with between session practice. Results The pilot study confirmed acceptability of the intervention and showed preliminary evidence of benefit; however, organisational barriers tended to limit effective operation. The pilot data and realist review pointed to additional use of Diffusion of Innovations Theory to seat the intervention in the wider organisational context. Conclusions We have developed and refined an intervention to promote smoking cessation services in community pharmacies, which we now plan to evaluate in a randomised controlled trial. Trial registration number UKCRN ID 18446, Pilot.
© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Health systems worldwide struggle to identify, adopt, and implement in a timely and system-wide manner the best-evidence-informed-policy-level practices. Yet, there is still only limited evidence about individual and institutional best practices for fostering the use of scientific evidence in policy-making processes The present project is the first national-level attempt to (1) map and structurally analyze-quantitatively-health-relevant policy-making networks that connect evidence production, synthesis, interpretation, and use; (2) qualitatively investigate the interaction patterns of a subsample of actors with high centrality metrics within these networks to develop an in-depth understanding of evidence circulation processes; and (3) combine these findings in order to assess a policy network's "absorptive capacity" regarding scientific evidence and integrate them into a conceptually sound and empirically grounded framework. Methods: The project is divided into two research components. The first component is based on quantitative analysis of ties (relationships) that link nodes (participants) in a network. Network data will be collected through a multi-step snowball sampling strategy. Data will be analyzed structurally using social network mapping and analysis methods. The second component is based on qualitative interviews with a subsample of the Web survey participants having central, bridging, or atypical positions in the network. Interviews will focus on the process through which evidence circulates and enters practice. Results from both components will then be integrated through an assessment of the network's and subnetwork's effectiveness in identifying, capturing, interpreting, sharing, reframing, and recodifying scientific evidence in policy-making processes. Discussion: Knowledge developed from this project has the potential both to strengthen the scientific understanding of how policy-level knowledge transfer and exchange functions and to provide significantly improved advice on how to ensure evidence plays a more prominent role in public policies.