Research paper tackles misconceptions related to systematic reviews
March 5, 2012 - Common misconceptions that create barriers to the use of systematic reviews in health systems policymaking are rebutted in a recently-published research paper that draws mainly on evidence from Health Systems Evidence, a continuously updated repository of syntheses of health systems research.
While systematic reviews are increasingly being viewed as important sources of information for policymakers who often face time constraints when making decisions about different aspects of health systems, there are still numerous ‘myths’ that stand in the way of greater use of this type of research, which seeks to systematically and transparently identify, select, appraise and synthesize the findings from all available research studies related to a clearly define question.
These myths include the belief that systematic review topics are not relevant to health systems policymaking, that they cannot be found quickly, and that they are not available in formats that are useful for policymakers. The paper published in the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy counters these and nine other common misconceptions, and aims to improve the prospects for the use of systematic reviews in health system policymaking.
Author Kaelan Moat, Lead of Health Systems Evidence, notes that reviews can assist policymakers in clarifying policy problems, framing the options to address these problems, and highlighting implementation considerations, and offers examples of how such reviews have been effective sources of information in previous health system decisions.
John Lavis, director of the McMaster Health Forum, and Mike Wilson, assistant director of the Forum, are co-authors on the paper, along with John-Arne Rottingen from the University of Oslo, and Till Barnighausen from the Harvard School of Public Health.
The full text of the article is available here.