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Guidance for Evidence-Informed Policies about Health Systems: Assessing How Much Confidence to Place in the Research Evidence

  • Simon Lewin mail,

    simon.lewin@nokc.no

    Affiliation: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Oslo, Norway, and Health Systems Research Unit, Medical Research Council of South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa

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  • Xavier Bosch-Capblanch,

    Affiliation: Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, and University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

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  • Sandy Oliver,

    Affiliation: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, London, United Kingdom

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  • Elie A. Akl,

    Affiliation: Department of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, United States of America, and Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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  • Gunn E. Vist,

    Affiliation: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Oslo, Norway

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  • John N. Lavis,

    Affiliation: McMaster Health Forum, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Department of Political Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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  • Davina Ghersi,

    Affiliation: Department of Research Policy and Cooperation, Information, Evidence and Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

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  • John-Arne Røttingen,

    Affiliation: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Oslo, Norway

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  • Peter Steinmann,

    Affiliation: Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland

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  • Metin Gulmezoglu,

    Affiliation: UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, World Health Organization, Switzerland

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  • Peter Tugwell,

    Affiliation: Department of Medicine, Institute of Population Health, and Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

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  • Fadi El-Jardali,

    Affiliation: Department of Health Policy and Management, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, and McMaster Health Forum, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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  • Andy Haines

    Affiliation: Departments of Social and Environmental Health Research and of Nutrition and Public Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

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  • Published: March 20, 2012
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001187

About the Authors

Simon Lewin
Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Oslo, Norway, and Health Systems Research Unit, Medical Research Council of South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa
Xavier Bosch-Capblanch
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, and University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Sandy Oliver
EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, London, United Kingdom
Elie A. Akl
Department of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, United States of America, and Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Gunn E. Vist, John-Arne Røttingen
Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Oslo, Norway
John N. Lavis
McMaster Health Forum, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Department of Political Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Davina Ghersi
Department of Research Policy and Cooperation, Information, Evidence and Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
Peter Steinmann
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland
Metin Gulmezoglu
UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, World Health Organization, Switzerland
Peter Tugwell
Department of Medicine, Institute of Population Health, and Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
Fadi El-Jardali
Department of Health Policy and Management, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, and McMaster Health Forum, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Andy Haines
Departments of Social and Environmental Health Research and of Nutrition and Public Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

Corresponding Author

Email: simon.lewin@nokc.no

Competing Interests

The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services received funds from the WHO for the contributions of DD, PS, LB, SL, and XBC to developing a Handbook to produce health systems guidance, and some of this work is reported in this article. DG is a member of the PLoS Medicine Editorial Board. EAA and GEV are members of the GRADE Working Group. All other authors declare no competing interests.

Author Contributions

Conceived and designed the experiments: SL XBC SO EAA GEV JL DG JAR PS MG PT FEJ AH. Wrote the first draft of the manuscript: SL. Contributed to the writing of the manuscript: XBC SO EAA GEV JL DG JAR PS MG PT FEJ AH. ICMJE criteria for authorship read and met: SL XBC SO EAA GEV JL DG JAR PS MG PT FEJ AH. Agree with manuscript results and conclusions: SL XBC SO EAA GEV JL DG JAR PS MG PT FEJ AH.