Eight years of supporting evidence-informed policymaking

The past year – our 8th (!) – was another busy, but rewarding one. We continued to maintain and continuously update Health Systems Evidence, which is the world’s most comprehensive source of synthesized research evidence about how to strengthen health systems and get the right programs, services and drugs to those who need them (there are now over 13,800 records). HSE offers full functionality in Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, with support from Cochrane Canada and PAHO/WHO, as well as other partners in low- and middle-income countries. Health Systems Evidence is a key resource for many groups worldwide, including the WHO-sponsored Evidence-Informed Policy Networks, which use it to support their preparation of evidence briefs.

Our rapid response program was designed to fill the gap between the ‘self-serve’ option of using Health Systems Evidence, and the ‘full-serve’ option of requesting a stakeholder dialogue informed by a pre-circulated evidence brief. In the past year, we have prepared five rapid syntheses in three, 10 or 30 business days about pressing health challenges (and are currently working on five more, for a total of 21 completed to date).

In the past year we also organized, executed and evaluated six stakeholder dialogues about pressing health challenges and prepared and evaluated the evidence briefs that informed the dialogues (e.g., strengthening care for frail older adults in Canada, held in October 2016). We are in the process of hosting two more in the near future, for a total of 49 since 2009.

As an extension of our stakeholder dialogue program, we also organized, executed and evaluated 18 citizen panels about pressing health challenges (e.g., making fair and sustainable decisions about funding for cancer drugs in Canada) and prepared and evaluated 9 citizen briefs that informed the panels. To date, we have prepared a total of 20 citizen briefs and hosted 33 panels.

We continued to organize, execute and evaluate workshops for policymakers and stakeholders on finding and using research evidence efficiently. The Forum has now hosted more than 130 training workshops in more than 30 countries.

As we celebrate our ninth birthday, we are wrapping up our strategic planning process for the next four years, and we will be unveiling many exciting new developments in the coming months.

McMaster Health Forum DialogueSpace