Abstract for: Model Based Theory in Health Innovations

While there are many models of what would constitute effective health practice, the ‘theories’ that people use to implement them are less well articulated. However, those charged with designing the implementation programmes for these models of health practice have internal mental models that comprise their ‘theories of change’ and which guide their actions. This study uses in-depth interviews with seven clinical, management and policy leaders within the New Zealand health sector to develop a ‘theory of change’ which is then described using system dynamics. The study uses cognitive mapping to elicit the key components of the ‘expert’ theories by analysing both the individual maps and a composite map developed by combining data from all seven interviews. A thematic analysis is conducted of this composite map and the resulting themes are used to inform the development of a system dynamics model. The system dynamics model highlights the key causal connections within the map, projections of how they evolve over time and the key modifiable variables that affect the future pathway.