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HRB evidence to action

28 October 2016

From fluoride in the water to suicide prevention, the HRB's Evidence Centre is making a valuable contribution to national health policy.

'Meeting Ireland's health and social care needs will require substantially increased innovation in policy and in health service design and delivery', says Dr Jean Long, Head of the HRB's Evidence Centre'. 'High quality research evidence and timely and relevant health information are crucial to achieving that goal'.

The HRB Evidence Centre was set up in 2011 and comprises of a team of researchers and information specialists. The Centre prepares a number of evidence products each year, ranging from a comprehensive evidence review to providing shorter succinct key research findings on a topic. The topics form a broad church and those under review in 2016 include:   

  • interventions that promote increased breastfeeding rates and breastfeeding duration among women 
  • experience of  internet pharmacy (online supply of prescription medicines) 
  • public funding methods and criteria to access assisted reproductive technologies  
  • models of patient advocacy  
  • regulating and financing home care services  
  • community pharmacists’ remuneration for dispensing reimbursable medicines.  

Many of the evidence reviews are used to inform the Department of Health’s policies such as the review of the sugar and fat contents of the food pyramid completed in 2014 and which informed the recently updated food pyramid for Ireland.

In 2015, an in-depth review of 'Individualised budgeting for social care services for people with a disability' was completed and it is being used to inform the deliberations of the Taskforce on Personal Budgets: Advisory and Consultative Group.

A review that identified the barriers to and facilitators of the successful implementation of hospital mergers will be used to make the new children’s hospital a good experience for all involved.

The HSE is using the review of minor ailments schemes and health workforce planning to inform their plans in these two areas. 

'So while some of our work, like our review of the health effects of community water fluoridation schemes, received publicity, most of our work makes a quiet but significant contribution to improving health and health care which is our ultimate goal', concludes Dr Long.

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