The Answer Is 17 Years, What Is the Question

Understanding Time Lags in Translational Research

Published In: Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, v. 104, no. 12, Dec. 2011, p. 510-520

Posted on RAND.org on December 01, 2011

by Zoe Slote Morris, Steven Wooding, Jonathan Grant

Read More

Access further information on this document at jrsm.rsmjournals.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This study aimed to review the literature describing and quantifying time lags in the health research translation process. Papers were included in the review if they quantified time lags in the development of health interventions. The study identified 23 papers. Few were comparable as different studies use different measures, of different things, at different time points. We concluded that the current state of knowledge of time lags is of limited use to those responsible for R&D and knowledge transfer who face difficulties in knowing what they should or can do to reduce time lags. This effectively 'blindfolds' investment decisions and risks wasting effort. The study concludes that understanding lags first requires agreeing models, definitions and measures, which can be applied in practice. A second task would be to develop a process by which to gather these data.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.