How can evidence-based ehealth interventions be best translated to end users?

4 October 2019
Interdisciplinary approaches to understand the relation between science, society and technology
Dr Milena Heinsch’s work explores relationships, systems, values and processes required to enact sustainable social change through research and guide the implementation of evidence-based ehealth interventions into health and community settings.

Dr Milena Heinsch, a Senior Research Fellow with the University of Newcastle and member of the PREMISE Centre of Research Excellence at the University of Sydney’s Matilda Centre for Research in Substance Use and Mental Health (the Matilda Centre), is developing an Integrated Translation and Engagement Model (ITEM). The model will guide the implementation of evidence-based ehealth interventions into health and community settings as part of the eCliPSE Project, funded by an NHMRC Project Grant and led by Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin.

Milena Heinsch

Dr Milena Heinsch

“While there have been extraordinary research advances in healthcare, translating these advances into tangible social benefits has remained a significant challenge,” says Dr Heinsch.

“Multiple models for the translation of evidence into policy and practice have been articulated. However, most are linear and very few come close to reflecting the dense and intricate relationships, systems, politics and processes required to enact sustainable improvements. The inherent complexity of knowledge translation highlights the need for multidimensional, iterative and flexible approaches that transcend disciplinary boundaries.”

eCliPSE provides an exciting opportunity for Dr Heinsch to build on her previous research, which investigated how researchers conceive, explain and experience the knowledge translation process, and the individual, organisational and relational factors that impact on this. The distinct contribution of Dr Heinsch’s work lies in the synthesis and application of a wide conceptual and theoretical framework to interrogate and better understand the relationship between research and practice.

“My research draws on creative and critical perspectives from a range of fields, including philosophy, sociology, social work, public health, economics and organisation science to understand how knowledge is created, constructed, embodied and collectively negotiated,” Dr Heinsch explains.

“In keeping with Milena’s commitment to developing interdisciplinary scholarship, the ITEM brings together the latest theoretical and empirical evidence for effective translation and engagement from the social, health and technological sciences, into a sophisticated and coherent framework to guide the implementation of eCliPSE into four local health districts,” says Professor Kay-Lambkin.   

Dr Heinsch is developing the ITEM with Professor Kay-Lambkin in collaboration with multiple researchers and disciplines across Universities, including Professor Maree Teesson and Dr Matthew Sunderland (The Matilda Centre, University of Sydney), and Associate Professor Jamie Carlson (University of Newcastle), Professor Cathy Mihalopoulos and Dr Mary-Lou Chatterton (Deakin University), Professor Helen Christensen (Black Dog Institute), Associate Professor Kirsten Morley (University of Sydney) and Professors Paul HaberAndrew Baille and Tim Shaw (University of Sydney).