Driving the evidence-based healthcare agenda forward: a qualitative reflexive thematic analysis of global health partnerships
Background: The global evidence community has long recognised that collaboration is key to producing trustworthy, pragmatic evidence. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for partnerships in developing rapid evidence-informed responses, streamlining global efforts, reducing research waste and ensuring the best-available evidence is accessible, transparent and understood. There is, however, growing concern about making partnerships equitable for—and beneficial to—all partners. Although collaboration has increased, vested interests, bureaucracy and inability to adapt remain limiting factors. The campaign for World Evidence-Based Healthcare (EBHC) Day 2022 focused on ‘partnerships for purpose’ within and across the global evidence ecosystem, calling on the global evidence community to share their experiences through blog submissions around the formation, development, maintenance, evaluation and outcomes of partnerships in EBHC.
Objectives: To explore the challenges, facilitators and outcomes of global health partnerships promoting and supporting evidence-based healthcare.
Methods: This is an inductive qualitative study of the 41 blogs published for the World EBHC Day 2022 Campaign. Analysis was conducted using reflexive thematic analysis according to Braun and Clarke.
Results: Numerous themes were identified across three research foci, including shared challenges experienced across partnerships relating to the lack of equity, diversity and inclusion policies, practice or understanding; navigating different operational systems and working practices; and programmatic misalignment. Results indicated that key facilitators for successful partnerships were dedicated resources for partnership management; commitment to information sharing, transparency and open communication; a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion; ensuring a common purpose and aligned values; and working to actively build trust, respect, relationships and social capital. Reported outcomes from partnerships included increased efficiencies and reduced duplication of effort; leveraging shared resources and expertise; addressing knowledge needs/gaps; increased funding opportunities; professional development; and expanded networks, increased reach and global impact.
Conclusions: Since COVID-19, we have had to come to terms with a tectonic shift in how our partnerships and relationships will work in its aftermath. To this end, the findings from this study and the 41 blogs published for World EBHC Day provide valuable lessons for navigating new ways of working together. Patient, public, health consumer involvement: Several blogs were written by patient advocates.