More Than "Using Research": The Real Challenges in Promoting Evidence-Informed Decision-Making.

School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
Healthcare policy = Politiques de sante 03/2009; 4(3):87-102. DOI: 10.12927/hcpol.2009.20538
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVES AND METHODS: Seventeen focus groups and 53 semi-structured individual interviews involving 205 planners and decision-makers were conducted in all 11 Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) in the province of Manitoba, Canada. Objectives were to explore perspectives on the nature and use of "evidence," and barriers to evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM). RESULTS: In spite of almost universal support in principle for using evidence in decision-making, there was little consensus among participants on what evidence is, what kind of evidence is most appropriate and how "using evidence" can best be demonstrated. Significant skepticism about EIDM was expressed. Issues related to workload, politicized decision-making and organizational factors dominated the discussion of decision-makers. Barriers to EIDM were commonly attributed to factors external to the RHAs. CONCLUSION: Effective strategies to promote EIDM must address the multiple barriers experienced by decision-makers in a complex decision-making environment. Rather than simply focusing on issues of access to evidence or development of individual capacity, strategies must focus on changing decision-making processes to support appropriate use of evidence.

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