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Health policy and systems research: towards a better understanding and review of ethical issues


Luyckx, Valerie Ann; Biller-Andorno, Nikola; Saxena, Abha; Tran, Nhan T (2017). Health policy and systems research: towards a better understanding and review of ethical issues. BMJ Global Health, 2(2):e000314.

Abstract

Given the focus on health systems in the post-millennium development goal era and moving towards the sustainable development goals, there is a compelling need for a common framework for health policy and systems research ethics to guide researchers and facilitate review by research ethics committees. A consultation of global health policy and systems research and ethics experts was convened to identify ethical considerations relevant to health policy and systems research based on existing knowledge and to identify knowledge gaps through a scoping review and further expert deliberation. Health policy and systems research is highly complex and, in the absence of guidance documents, there is significant variability in ethics review. Although fundamental ethical principles pertain to both traditional clinical research and health policy and systems research, the application of these principles requires a comprehensive understanding of the nature of health policy and systems research with its distinct challenges. Such awareness must be raised among researchers and research ethics committees. Current research ethics committees lack familiarity with health policy and systems research and because health policy and systems research is conducted in real-world contexts, committees often have difficulties in determining whether a project is indeed research and/or requires ethical review. Given the strong current focus on health policy and systems research to rapidly improve health and health systems functioning globally, greater engagement and dialogue around the ethical concerns is required to optimise research review and research conduct in this rapidly evolving field.

Abstract

Given the focus on health systems in the post-millennium development goal era and moving towards the sustainable development goals, there is a compelling need for a common framework for health policy and systems research ethics to guide researchers and facilitate review by research ethics committees. A consultation of global health policy and systems research and ethics experts was convened to identify ethical considerations relevant to health policy and systems research based on existing knowledge and to identify knowledge gaps through a scoping review and further expert deliberation. Health policy and systems research is highly complex and, in the absence of guidance documents, there is significant variability in ethics review. Although fundamental ethical principles pertain to both traditional clinical research and health policy and systems research, the application of these principles requires a comprehensive understanding of the nature of health policy and systems research with its distinct challenges. Such awareness must be raised among researchers and research ethics committees. Current research ethics committees lack familiarity with health policy and systems research and because health policy and systems research is conducted in real-world contexts, committees often have difficulties in determining whether a project is indeed research and/or requires ethical review. Given the strong current focus on health policy and systems research to rapidly improve health and health systems functioning globally, greater engagement and dialogue around the ethical concerns is required to optimise research review and research conduct in this rapidly evolving field.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:June 2017
Deposited On:21 Jun 2017 12:55
Last Modified:24 Feb 2018 04:09
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:2059-7908
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000314
PubMed ID:29225934

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