Introduction: Integration of health services and medical education - the brief manifest of Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOHME) - has been studied mainly from the perspective of health service and medical education quality so far. The objective of present study however, is to examine the impact of integrated structure of MOHME on domestic research utilization. Macro-level policy makers in charge of designing the national research and innovation system are expected to benefit from the results of this study.
Methods: The study was conducted in form of Grounded Theory and through interviews with a wide range of persons ranging from policy makers to healthcare providers in medical and non-medical groups.
Results: ‘Integration’ has not fully evolved yet. Beyond the structural changes that have been created at the higher levels of MOHME and medical universities, a set of processes should have been defined for attainment of the desired goals. Neither the created structural changes have covered the level of educational and research groups, nor the set of needed processes has been defined. The issue of inadequate research utilization is not limited to health sector, but is also present in other pillars of the national research and innovation system.
Conclusion: From the perspective of health research, the national research and innovation system should be defined at the macro level before making any decisions about changing the current structures. The reason is that the main problems of the research system in Iran are not confined to medical sciences or the ‘integration’, but more general and drastic issues are existent. Any putative structural changes in the ‘integration’ and medical sciences should be viewed only as secondary to these main issues.
Hakim Research Journal 2008 11(3): 1- 10.