What Exactly Are Think Tanks? Our 101 

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When you hear the name Think Tank’ it might conjure up childhood imagery of a tank with brains swimming around in it and surprisingly it’s not that far from the truth! Well in some regards at least. Think tanks have been around for years but they are an ever-increasing trend we are seeing and it’s about time we all got to know a little more about them.

Fortunately we have come up with a think-tank 101 – introduction to help clarify it for you.

thinkFirstly what helps you in identifying them is to also know they are also known as policy institutes. They are organisations or groups that carry out research in order to influence public policy for the better. They bring thinkers together and allow them a platform to get their ideas heard.

These meetings usually work on a national scale, with the focus being on how larger policies can be adjusted to benefit everyone. To do this they not only require the institutes to look forward to new policies but for them to also evaluate past and present policies. The concept is that the think tank will research a host of policies and strategies in order to provide potential alternatives to proposed policies in order to make them better. To summarise a think tank quite simply does the thinking policymakers don’t have time for!

So that’s what they are but what do they do? Medical think tanks aim to inform and improve existing and new health policy. They do this by finding ways to measure existing quality of care, treatment and safety in order to help improve upon it. These larger medical think tanks bring together the most prominent healthcare leadership in order to share their knowledge and help implement the best practice ideas on a national and global scale.An example of this is the United Kingdom’s minister of health deciding some aspects of Chinese herbal medicine should be introduced into the NHS.

_73507413_bulb2The benefit of medical think tanks is that they bring together not only experts but also staff practicing in the day-to-day; these are people who might not necessarily have the opportunity to share ideas about healthcare if it weren’t for these sessions.

The most effective think tanks realise that the best way to find solutions to a problem are by communicating with the people who have the problems. For example, a medical think tank looking to solve accessibility issues to hospitals would benefit from communicating with people who actually have accessibility issues, such as the elderly. The result of creating a think tank like this is that you hear issues and solutions that are grounded and real rather than speculation.

It is evident that when think tanks are done correctly and make use of the people who the policies are actually going to impact, then they can be a hugely beneficial method of implementing positive policies. The great thing about think tanks is that they can be introduced into almost any situation and they promote the sharing of ideas and experiences.

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