The embedded researcher model in Australian healthcare settings: comparison by degree of “embeddedness”
D. Coates, S. Mickan
Abstract: The embedded researcher model is a health-academic partnership where researchers are core members of a healthcare organization, with an aim to support evidence translation. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics and experiences of embedded researchers in Australian healthcare settings, and investigate how the model is experienced differently based on the level of “embeddedness.” This exploratory study utilized a purpose-designed online survey. Responses were described using Word and Excel and analyzed using SPSS. To investigate how the model was experienced based on the level of “embeddedness,” we tested for differences in responses between respondents with primary academic vs healthcare affiliations. A total of 104 embedded researchers from nursing and midwifery, allied health and medicine completed the survey, with equal numbers reporting a primary academic vs primary healthcare affiliation. Most indicated that research is a strategic objective of the healthcare organization (85.9%) yet almost a third (31%) reported that research outputs were not measured. While 60% agreed that clinical practice informed by research was valued, only 28% reported having adequate resources. Of those with a formal dual affiliation over a quarter reported conflict between expectations of the healthcare and academic organizations. Respondents with a primary academic affiliation were older, more qualified, had more research experience, had been in the role longer, and had more positive perceptions of the research culture of healthcare organizations. This study provides a starting point for healthcare organizations and academic institutions to partner in the further development and implementation of this model.
Background:There are calls to enhance collaboration between health research and health care provision to support evidence translation. One emerging partnership model is the “embedded researcher,” where the researcher is engaged as a core member of the health service delivery team. How this model is implemented in Australian healthcare settings is not well understood.
Translational Significance: This study provides a starting point for healthcare organizations and academic institutions to partner in the further development and implementation of this model. While the model has originally been supported and maintained by academic organizations, it appears that healthcare organizations have invested most heavily over the last 5–10 years. Embedded researchers with a primary healthcare affiliation were younger, less research qualified and experienced and had been in the role less long than those with a primary academic affiliation.