Needs Assessment in Health Research Projects: A New Approach to Project Management in Iran

Article excerpt

Abstract

Background: The science and technology health plan has defined the outline of health research to the national vision of Iran by 2025. The aim of this study was to focus on the process of needs assessment of health research projects also health research priority setting in Iran.

Methods: The project management life cycle has four phases: Initiation, Planning, Execution and Closure. Based on abovementioned points we conducted the study.

Results: Focusing on the needs assessment led to systematic implementation of needs assessment of health project in all of the medical sciences universities. Parallel with this achieved strategies health research priority setting was followed through specific process from empowerment to implementation.

Conclusion: We should adopt with more systematic progressive methods of health project managements for both our national convenience as well as our international health research programs.

Keywords: Health, Needs assessment, Project management, Iran

Introduction

Needs assessment is considered as a systematic process for determining the needs, or gaps be-tween current conditions and desired or wanted conditions. Thus it is an important part of the planning process whether for improving the cur-rent performance or for correcting a deficiency (1-3). During this process sufficient data based on reasonable judgment will address the specific groups' needs and wants (1, 2). From this point of view the finite resources can be directed towards developing and implementing the feasible and applicable priority (4-6).These component through enlisting the processing groups including the processes initiation, planning, execution, controlling and closing through which the great and complicated projects divide into the phases and activities (3-5).

No health system, especially in developing coun-tries, can afford to pay for every research they want to do (1). Needs assessment and extraction of the corresponding requirements in different health area is one of the most important issues in a health research system (2).

It is an important process in the management of a country's health research to allocating often limited human and financial resources (2). Research needs assessment is the efficient combination of the needs assessment and the research management. Follows, in the optimum condition, through the predefined process of identify potential health research needs; set health priorities among research projects and appropriate decision on the allocation of define health resources to the best and most important projects (3-5). It enables the heath policy maker and other stakeholders to the systematic health priority setting and resource allocation (1-3).

The aim of this study was to focus on the process of needs assessment of health research projects also health research priority setting in Iran.

Methods

Aiming to direction and enabling the universities to coordinate with medium and long term developmental programs of health research; in 2001 the Ministry of Health and Medical Education of Iran assigned a process to annual research performance evaluation of governmental medical science and their affiliated research institutions (4,5).

As it was a vast multidimensional project, this article focused on the process of needs assessment of health research projects also health research priority setting. The project management life cycle has four phases: Initiation, Planning, Execution and Closure. Each project life cycle phase is described below, along with the tasks needed to complete it (6-8).

In initiation phase after peer reviewing the project requirements' based on the result of predefined situation analyze and health research stakeholders' opinions', the objective of project were finalized for national and sub national levels. Strategies were fitted to country defined health vision and project scope was developed.

During planning phase; using some indicators of WHO/ Health Research System and UNESCO science and technology through integrating stakeholders' opinions data collection forms were designed. …