What are the implications and challenges of evidence-informed policymaking? This was explored in a session investigating international approaches related to the use of research evidence in policymaking. The following themes were unpacked:
- Assessment of policymakers’ capacity for evidence-informed decision-making
- Translation of Cochrane abstracts and plain language summaries for use by decision makers
- Development of user-friendly evidence-summaries by policymakers for essential medicine lists in the Americas
In this session, barriers and facilitators of using research evidence in policymaking were shared. Strategies to enhance the use of research evidence include strong relationships between policymakers and researchers and systematic review evidence that is well-packaged and summarised in not more than one page. The importance of joint efforts between researchers and policymakers was emphasised.
An interesting, pragmatic and simplified methodology was developed by the Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre and collaborators for formulating user-friendly evidence summaries that provide technical support to policymakers in the decision-making process. This methodology includes the use of GRADE for considering quality of evidence, as well as comments on relevant economic studies and a contextualisation of applicability of the evidence.
Even though we need to learn a lot more about how to promote and establish evidence-informed policymaking, particularly in low and middle income countries, there is a good foundation on which we can build a bridge between the research evidence and policymaking for effective and efficient health care.