Health Policy and Planning
Volume 27 Issue 6 September 2012
Reza Majdzadeh, Bahareh Yazdizadeh, Saharnaz Nedjat, Jaleh Gholami, and Sharareh Ahghari
Strengthening evidence-based decision-making: is it possible without improving health system stewardship?
Health Policy Plan. (2012) 27(6): 499-504 doi:10.1093/heapol/czr072
Background Health systems worldwide have always suffered resource constraints. Therefore, making decisions informed by scientific evidence to optimize costs and prevent wastage of resources is both important and necessary. The current study was designed to identify barriers to evidence-based decision-making (EBDM) in Iran’s health system.
Methods Participants were purposively selected. In-depth interviews with policy-makers and focus group discussions (FGDs) with researchers were used to collect data. Thirteen in-depth interviews and six FGDs were held. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Results The barriers mentioned were categorized into decision-makers’ characteristics, the decision-making environment and the research system, with each category consisting of further relevant themes and subthemes. Organizational values, criteria for selecting decision-makers, and the attitude toward EBDM were found to be important barriers to EBDM, and were related to stewardship.
Conclusion There are various barriers to EBDM at different levels, and multi-dimensional solutions are required to strengthen the impact of scientific evidence on decision-making. Several recognized barriers to EBDM are rooted in health system stewardship, such as the weakness of inter-sectoral collaborations and ill-defined priorities. It appears that improvement of EBDM is secondary to the strengthening of health system stewardship.