External factors affecting decision-making and use of evidence in an Australian public health policy environment

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This study examined external factors affecting policy and program decision-making in a specific public health policy context: injury prevention and rehabilitation compensation in the Australian state of Victoria. The aim was twofold: identify external factors that affect policy and program decision-making in this specific context; use this evidence to inform targeting of interventions aimed at increasing research use in this context. Qualitative interviews were undertaken from June 2011 to January 2012 with 33 employees from two state government agencies. Key factors identified were stakeholder feedback and action, government and ministerial input, legal feedback and action, injured persons and the media. The identified external factors were able to significantly influence policy and program decision-making processes: acting as both barriers and facilitators, depending on the particular issue at hand. The factors with the most influence were the Minister and government, lawyers, and agency stakeholders, particularly health providers, trade unions and employer groups. This research revealed that interventions aimed at increasing use of research in this context must target and harness the influence of these groups. This research provides critical insights for researchers seeking to design interventions to increase use of research in policy environments and influence decision-making in Victorian injury prevention and rehabilitation compensation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120 - 127
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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