Policy Briefs

EVIPNet promotes the development of user friendly formats for policy briefs that are relevant to the country's context and may be adapted to different types of end-users, such as policy makers, system managers, practitioners, patients, the media and the general public, children, and others.

What are EVIPNet policy briefs ?

The EVIPNet policy briefs are research syntheses in a user-friendly format, offering evidence informed policy options. EVIPNet policy briefs differ from regular policy briefs in that they involve systematic and transparent efforts to contextualize the results of systematic reviews and to integrate that evidence with setting-specific research results to support well-informed policy decisions.

EVIPNet will advance the state-of-the-art for making research evidence accessible to policymakers by refining and testing user-friendly formats for research syntheses across Low and Middle Income Countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and by developing and testing rapid response mechanisms ('one stop shopping') that can provide quality filters for policy-relevant research evidence

Why are policy briefs important ?

Evidence informed policy briefs have the potential to dramatically improve the chances that policymakers will read, consider and apply where appropriate the contents of research summaries when reaching policy decisions. Studies indicate that research evidence presented in formats that are not user-friendly will not be read and will not influence policy. A systematic review of studies of decision-making by health care managers and policy-makers conducted by Lavis and colleagues (2005) (Lavis JN, Davies HTO, Oxman AD, Denis JL, Golden-Biddle K, Ferlie E. Towards systematic reviews that inform healthcare management and policymaking. J Health Serv Res Policy 2005; 10 Suppl 1:35-48) suggests that removing jargon from research syntheses would increase prospects for their use by those policymakers and managers. Their interviews with policymakers and managers in that study suggest that presenting research syntheses using something like a 1:3:25 format is preferred over current approaches; i.e. one page with key messages, a three page structured summary, and a 25 pages report and a longer technical report, if needed. John Lavis and Andy Oxman will continue to work with African, Asian, and Latin American and Caribbean partners to significantly advance research into the most effective format for research summaries aimed at policymakers in low and middle income countries.

EVIPNet Partner policy briefs

As a global social network, EVIPNet has benefited from the work of organizations and projects using innovative methodologies to produce policy briefs and research summaries. These organizations include the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHSPR), the Health Evidence Network (HEN), Supporting Policy relevantReviews and Trials (SUPPORT), an the constant efforts of many WHO technical departments.


New series of policy briefs launched at WHO European Ministerial Conference Health Systems, Health and Wealth

Other policy briefs

The Resource Group and WHO technical staff will review policy briefs produced by non-partners, using criteria of relevance , potential conflict of interest and other ethical standards, quality of methodologies, and transparency of processes used. Selected policy briefs can be searched by theme and organization using other policy briefs link on the EVIPnet Portal.

How are EVIPNet policy briefs prepared ?

The following points outline the key steps that EVIPNet follows in the preparation of policy briefs :

  • The country teams draw on several overviews of systematic reviews, including ones examining the effects of alternative delivery, financial and governance arrangements, supporting behaviour change, and many single studies that have been conducted in their own country or region
  • Each country team prepares a policy brief presenting at least three viable policy options for addressing the selected priority issue. These policy options comprise different 'bundles' of the aforementioned delivery, financial and governance arrangements within their respective health system, and potential strategies for supporting the implementation of the policy options.
  • 'Policy paths' are developed to identify the main stakeholders in the implementation of these specific policies (including in other sectors outside the health sector).
  • Each policy option is accompanied by an assessment about what is feasible for a country's health system (in term of both costs and consequences) by pursuing each of the policy options. The assessments are based on the best available research evidence that has been examined for its quality and local applicability and for equity and scaling up consideration.
  • Each country team convenes a national policy dialogue, and invites senior government officials and key stakeholders (including civil society groups) to participate in a discussion about how both the public and private sector can best support the selected priority issue. The policy brief will be a key input to this discussion, but so too will be local information about on-the-ground realities and constraints, values, interest group dynamics, tacit knowledge, best practices, and institutional constraints.
  • The entire process is monitored and evaluated so as to compile and disseminate 'best practices' in evidence-informed policy-making.

EVIPNet - Evidence Informed Policy Network
WHO - 20 Avenue Appia CH1211 Geneva
Tel: (+4122) 791-3175 Fax: (+4122) 791-4169 E-mail : evipnet@who.int