In evidence-informed policy-making (EIP), major knowledge gaps remain in understanding the context and possibilities for institutionalisation of knowledge translation. In 2014, the WHO Evidence-informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) Europe initiated a number of pilot countries, with Hungary among them, to engage in a 'situation analysis' (SA) in order to fill some of those gaps. This contribution discusses the results of the SA in Hungary on research-policy interactions, facilitating factors and potential barriers to establish a knowledge translation platform (KTP).
In line with the EVIPNet Europe SA Manual, a document analysis, 13 interviews, 3 focus group discussions with 21 participants, and an online survey with 31 respondents were carried out from April to October, 2015. A SA aims to assess the context in which EIP takes form and seeks opportunities to establish a KTP, so information was gathered on the current practice of EIP and knowledge translation, its relevant actors, enablers and barriers for EIP, and opinions on a future KTP. Methodological and researcher triangulation resulted in a narrative synthesis of data, including a comparison with literature. A stakeholder consultation was organised to validate findings.
This study reveals that stakeholders show commitment to produce and use research evidence in Hungarian health policy-making. All stakeholders endorsed the idea of strengthening the systematic use of evidence in decision-making and favoured the idea of establishing a KTP. In line with literature on other countries, some good practices exist on the uptake of evidence in policy-making; however, a systematic approach of developing, translating and using research evidence in health policy processes is lacking. EIP is currently hampered by scattered capacity, coordination problems, high fluctuation in government, an often legalistic and a more 'symbolic' rather than practical support for knowledge translation and EIP. The article summarises recommendations on a Hungarian KTP.
Pragmatic adaptation of the SA Manual to local needs proved to be a useful mechanism to provide insight into the Hungarian EIP field and the establishment of a potential KTP. Despite the success of a KTP pilot, it remains unclear how a KTP in Hungary will be institutionalised in a sustainable way.