National framework for action to promote eye health and prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss

Key area for action 5: Improving the evidence base

Page last updated: November 2005

Objective:

Eye health care policy, planning and programs are supported by high quality research and data collection systems.

Challenges:

Ongoing high quality epidemiological, clinical, economic, health services and evaluation research is required to underpin eye health policy and practice. Australian eye research to date has been significant, but there is still a pressing need for increased understanding of the aetiology of eye health problems and better prevention and detection methods, early intervention and treatment options.

Prioritisation of new and existing research initiatives combined with collaboration between researchers in Australia and overseas is necessary to maximise returns from investment in eye health research.

The production of high quality eye research products rests upon the skills and capacity of the eye research workforce. Enhanced research capacity can be encouraged through linkages and collaborations both within the eye sector and with other sectors and disciplines, and between researchers, policy makers and funding bodies in the private
and public sectors. Optimal dissemination of research findings to target audiences is necessary for research to be relevant and utilised.

High quality eye health data and information systems can guide priorities within eye care delivery, to evaluate eye care and generalist health services and programs, to monitor quality improvement initiatives and to inform consumers, communities and health care practitioners.

Actions:

Key area for action 5: Improving the evidence base
Action areaActions
Research gaps and priorities
  • identify eye health research gaps and national priorities in consultation with all key stakeholders
  • work with established Australian eye health research centres to develop eye health programs which reflect policy and practice needs
  • facilitate greater communication, coordination and cooperation between relevant research bodies
  • encourage high quality research products that are relevant and useful and meet the information needs of various stakeholders
Eye research workforce development
  • continue support for resources, infrastructure and funding to undertake eye research
  • educate clinicians, public health professionals and epidemiologists about opportunities in eye research
  • promote a strong evaluation culture amongst eye care practitioners
  • encourage collaborative research by multi-disciplinary teams
  • promote inclusion of eye research on other public health and social policy research agendas
Knowledge transfer
  • develop a range of strategies to make eye research outcomes accessible to eye care practitioners, consumers, policy makers and other stakeholders, including the use of networks, websites, newsletters and journals
Eye health data
  • develop a strategic and nationally consistent approach to eye health data collection
  • improve the utility of existing health data collections in regard to eye health
  • examine existing health datasets for relevance to eye health and explore opportunities to influence the development of health data systems in order to enhance their relevance to eye health
  • integrate and link existing databases to improve health monitoring, examination of successful outcomes and health care utilisation
  • develop performance indicators for the achievement of each key action area outlined in the National Eye Health Framework.
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