Clinical research imperatives: principles and priorities from the perspective of Allied Health executives and managers

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Objective. It is widely understood that a key means of improving health systems and patient outcomes is through research – accessing, understanding, generating and applying research evidence-based practice. To promote more targeted and strategic research in Allied Health practice, this study sought to establish the principles, areas and priorities for clinical research as perceived by Allied Health leaders in the South Australian public health system. Methods. The study used a mixed-methods design (full, sequential and equal model). Participants were recruited from the South Australian Department of Health and Wellbeing employment lists for Allied Health senior leaders. Consenting participants attended face-to-face focus groups; after an overview presentation, they discussed the principles for Allied Health research, followed by areas and priorities for research. Summaries of the responses were themed descriptively and circulated electronically so participants could confirm the research areas and ascribe priority ratings, clinical populations and services. Results. A total of 28 people attended the stakeholder forum (5 online); 20 responded to the second-round electronic summary. Nine principles of research action were agreed. Fourteen research areas were identified and prioritised. There was a relatively consistent prioritisation of measuring Allied Health value, Allied Health workforce, hospital avoidance and closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health outcomes – whether the individuals were thinking about their own service or the state as a whole. Conclusions. Allied Health leadership identified key principles and priorities for research to improve service delivery and patient outcomes. These priorities should generate further discussion and interest for novice and experienced researchers and leaders and can be used to inform granting and project plans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207–217
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian health review : a publication of the Australian Hospital Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2024


  • allied health
  • health services research
  • models of care
  • mixed-methods
  • research priorities
  • research principles
  • workforce
  • patient outcomes


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