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      SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 1: What is evidence-informed policymaking?

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          This article is part of a series written for people responsible for making decisions about health policies and programmes and for those who support these decision makers.

          In this article, we discuss the following three questions: What is evidence? What is the role of research evidence in informing health policy decisions? What is evidence-informed policymaking?

          Evidence-informed health policymaking is an approach to policy decisions that aims to ensure that decision making is well-informed by the best available research evidence. It is characterised by the systematic and transparent access to, and appraisal of, evidence as an input into the policymaking process. The overall process of policymaking is not assumed to be systematic and transparent. However, within the overall process of policymaking, systematic processes are used to ensure that relevant research is identified, appraised and used appropriately. These processes are transparent in order to ensure that others can examine what research evidence was used to inform policy decisions, as well as the judgements made about the evidence and its implications. Evidence-informed policymaking helps policymakers gain an understanding of these processes.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Use of research to inform public policymaking.

          To improve health and reduce health inequalities, public policymakers need to find the best solutions to the most burdensome health problems, the best ways to fit these solutions into complex and often overstretched and underresourced health systems, and the best ways to bring about the desired changes in health systems. Systematic reviews can inform public policymaking by providing research-based answers to these questions. Public policymakers can encourage more informed policymaking by asking to see systematic reviews on priority issues, commissioning reviews when none exists, and placing more value on such work in their deliberations and in their interactions with stakeholders. Donors and international agencies can encourage more informed public policymaking by supporting national and regional efforts to undertake reviews and assess their local applicability, and by supporting regional or worldwide efforts to coordinate review and assessment processes.
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            SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP)

            This article is the Introduction to a series written for people responsible for making decisions about health policies and programmes and for those who support these decision makers. Knowing how to find and use research evidence can help policymakers and those who support them to do their jobs better and more efficiently. Each article in this series presents a proposed tool that can be used by those involved in finding and using research evidence to support evidence-informed health policymaking. The series addresses four broad areas: 1. Supporting evidence-informed policymaking 2. Identifying needs for research evidence in relation to three steps in policymaking processes, namely problem clarification, options framing, and implementation planning 3. Finding and assessing both systematic reviews and other types of evidence to inform these steps, and 4. Going from research evidence to decisions. Each article begins with between one and three typical scenarios relating to the topic. These scenarios are designed to help readers decide on the level of detail relevant to them when applying the tools described. Most articles in this series are structured using a set of questions that guide readers through the proposed tools and show how to undertake activities to support evidence-informed policymaking efficiently and effectively. These activities include, for example, using research evidence to clarify problems, assessing the applicability of the findings of a systematic review about the effects of options selected to address problems, organising and using policy dialogues to support evidence-informed policymaking, and planning policy monitoring and evaluation. In several articles, the set of questions presented offers more general guidance on how to support evidence-informed policymaking. Additional information resources are listed and described in every article. The evaluation of ways to support evidence-informed health policymaking is a developing field and feedback about how to improve the series is welcome.
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              Use of evidence in WHO recommendations.

              WHO regulations, dating back to 1951, emphasise the role of expert opinion in the development of recommendations. However, the organisation's guidelines, approved in 2003, emphasise the use of systematic reviews for evidence of effects, processes that allow for the explicit incorporation of other types of information (including values), and evidence-informed dissemination and implementation strategies. We examined the use of evidence, particularly evidence of effects, in recommendations developed by WHO departments. We interviewed department directors (or their delegates) at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and reviewed a sample of the recommendation-containing reports that were discussed in the interviews (as well as related background documentation). Two individuals independently analysed the interviews and reviewed key features of the reports and background documentation. Systematic reviews and concise summaries of findings are rarely used for developing recommendations. Instead, processes usually rely heavily on experts in a particular specialty, rather than representatives of those who will have to live with the recommendations or on experts in particular methodological areas. Progress in the development, adaptation, dissemination, and implementation of recommendations for member states will need leadership, the resources necessary for WHO to undertake these processes in a transparent and defensible way, and close attention to the current and emerging research literature related to these processes.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Health Res Policy Syst
                Health Research Policy and Systems
                BioMed Central
                1478-4505
                2009
                16 December 2009
                : 7
                : Suppl 1
                : S1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, P.O. Box 7004, St. Olavs plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway
                [2 ]Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Department of Political Science, McMaster University, 1200 Main St. West, HSC-2D3, Hamilton, ON, Canada, L8N 3Z5
                [3 ]Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, P.O. Box 7004, St. Olavs plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway; Health Systems Research Unit, Medical Research Council of South Africa
                [4 ]Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, P.O. Box 7004, St. Olavs plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway; Section for International Health, Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
                Article
                1478-4505-7-S1-S1
                10.1186/1478-4505-7-S1-S1
                3271820
                20018099
                Copyright ©2009 Oxman et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Health & Social care

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