Assessing how much confidence to place in different types of research evidence is key to informing judgements regarding policy options to address health systems problems.
Systematic and transparent approaches to such assessments are particularly important given the complexity of many health systems interventions.
Useful tools are available to assess how much confidence to place in the different types of research evidence needed to support different steps in the policy-making process; those for assessing evidence of effectiveness are most developed.
Tools need to be developed to assist judgements regarding evidence from systematic reviews on other key factors such as the acceptability of policy options to stakeholders, implementation feasibility, and equity.
Research is also needed on ways to develop, structure, and present policy options within global health systems guidance. This is the third paper in a three-part series in PLoS Medicine on health systems guidance.
Lewin, S.; Bosch-Capblanch, X.; Oliver, S.; Akl, E. A.; Vist, G. E.; Lavis, J. N.; Ghersi, D.; Røttingen, J. A.; Steinmann, P.; Gulmezoglu, M.; Tugwell, P.; El-Jardali, F.; Haines, A. Guidance for Evidence-Informed Policies about Health Systems: Assessing How Much Confidence to Place in the Research Evidence. PLoS Medicine (2012) 9 (3) e1001187. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001187]