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Evidence-based clinical policy: case report of a reproducible process to encourage understanding and evaluation of evidence

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We report within a case study a reproducible process to facilitate the explicit incorporation of evidence by a multidisciplinary group into clinical policy development. To support the decision-making of a multidisciplinary Intersectoral Advisory Group (IAG) convened by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Health Policy Unit, a systematic review of randomized controlled trials about environmental tobacco smoke and smoking cessation interventions in paediatric settings was first undertaken. As reported in detail here, IAG members were then formally engaged in a transparent and replicable process to understand and interpret the synthesized evidence and to proffer their independent reactions regarding policy, practice and research. Our intention was to ensure that all IAG members were democratically engaged and made aware of the available evidence. As clinical policy must engage stakeholder representatives from diverse backgrounds, a process to equalize understanding of the evidence and ‘democratize’ judgment about its implications is needed. Future research must then examine the benefits of such explicit steps when guidelines, in turn, are implemented. We hypothesize that changes to future practice will be more likely if processes undertaken to develop guidelines are transparent to clinicians and other target groups.
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Keywords: decision-making; evidence based; policy; process

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 2: Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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