John N. LavisEvidence-Informed Health Systems
Faculty of Health Sciences
Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, & Impact
MCMASTER EXPERTS PROFILE
Studying experiences with, and impacts of, innovative strategies that support evidence-informed health systems.
Health system policymakers and stakeholders grapple with complex decisions about health systems every day. Poor decisions translate into fatalities, lower quality of life and poor satisfaction among patients and their families, and wasted investments and opportunities for the citizens who pay for the system.
The last decade has been called the ‘health systems decade’ as governments like those in Canadian provinces, international agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), and donors like the Gates Foundation, come to realize that health-system arrangements determine whether the right mix of cost-effective programs, services, and drugs get to those who need them, and at an acceptable cost.
Synthesized high-quality research evidence can inform decisions about these health system arrangements and implementation arrangements. However, policymakers and stakeholders often do not consider this research evidence alongside the institutional constraints, interest group pressures, values, and other factors that drive the policymaking process.
John Lavis, Canada Research Chair in Evidence-Informed Health Systems, is working to change this. He wants to help create the evidence base about which strategies best support an evidence-informed health system given the particular contexts and issues policymakers and stakeholders face.
Ultimately, access to high-quality research evidence can help policymakers and stakeholders set agendas, take well-considered actions, and communicate the rationale for actions effectively.