Encouraging the use of scientific evidence in decision making

A major challenge for health systems is to promote the use of scientific evidence supporting public policies that seek to improve efficiency and the health of the population. The objective of this study was to identify and discuss strategies to encourage the use of scientific evidence in the process of health decision making. The search was performed in the repositories of the Virtual Health Library, Health Systems Evidence and PubMed. SUPPORT (Supporting Policy Relevant Reviews and Trials) Tools were used for the preparation of this overview. Seven systematic reviews were used to identify options to stimulate the use of evidence for decision making: 1) Produce policy briefings with adapted language for different audiences; 2) Stimulate the use of journalism and other forms of mass communication for dissemination of scientific knowledge; 3) Implement online platforms for dissemination of scientific knowledge, and; 4) Promote the dialogue between researchers and policy makers. Strategies to encourage the use of scientific evidence in health decision making can be implemented in a synergistic way; however, it is important to assess the local context and the implications of each strategy for the health system as a whole.