Wednesday, March 21, 2012

[EQ] Assessing How Much Confidence to Place in Health Systems Evidence

Rationale for and Challenges of Guidance Development for Evidence-informed Policies About Health Systems

Bosch-Capblanch X, Lavis JN, Lewin S, Atun R, R√łttingen J-A, et al. (2012)
PLoS Med 9(3): e1001185. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001185 - March 6, 2012

Available online at:

Health systems evidence can be translated into guidance to inform policies on health systems and improve the delivery of clinical and public health interventions.

In the first article in a three-part series on health systems guidance published in PLoS Medicine, the authors make a case for developing guidance to inform decisions on health systems-level questions based on an analysis of strategic health sector documents, explores specific challenges in producing such guidance, and identifies options for addressing these challenges.
The summary points of the article are available in Arabic, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Linking Guidance Development to Policy Development in Health Systems

Lavis JN, R√łttingen J-A, Bosch-Capblanch X, Atun R, El-Jardali F, et al. (2012)

PLoS Med 9(3): e1001186. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001186 -  March 13, 2012

Available online at:

The second article in a series of three articles in PLoS Medicine about health systems guidance explores the links between health systems guidance development and policy development at global and national levels, and examines the range of factors that can influence policy development.

It proposes that instead of producing one-size-fits-all guidance, the World Health Organization and other normative bodies could produce ‘workbooks’ that assist those working in provincial/state and national health systems work through what needs to be done in their particular setting.
The summary points of the article are available in Arabic, French, Portuguese and Spanish..

Assessing How Much Confidence to Place in Health Systems Evidence

Lewin S, Bosch-Capblanch X, Oliver S, Akl EA, Vist GE, et al. (2012)
 PLoS Med 9(3): e1001187. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001187 -
March 20, 2012

Available online at:

In the third and final article in a series of articles published in PLoS Medicine, the authors focus on assessing how much confidence can be placed on health systems research evidence in both guidance and policy development processes. The article describes a range of tools available to assess the different types of evidence needed to support different steps in the policymaking process, and discusses factors that are important when developing recommendations on policy options regarding health systems interventions.

Better Guidance Is Welcome, but without Blinders

David H. Peters, Sara Bennett
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America
PLoS Med 9(3): e1001188. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001188 - March 20, 2012

Available online at:

“…..The three-paper series on guidance for evidence-informed decisions about health systems, published in PLoS Medicine, and produced by members of the World Health Organization (WHO) Task Force on Developing Health Systems Guidance, offers important contributions to improving the quality of evidence-informed decision-making in health systems [1]–[3].

We recognize the importance of engendering greater structure and systematization in processes that collate and evaluate evidence, and bring it to bear on policy. However, there are significant challenges in doing this for policies related to health systems, and we caution against the adoption of rigid approaches to the development of guidance and to the application of evidence to policy…..”


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