Evidence informed policy making for health communication

Ruth Stewart, Katrina Hargreaves, Sandy Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Health care decision-making requires research evidence and good judgement. This applies to policy making, as much as it does to decisions about an individual's care. We have attempted to employ the principles of patient involvement and evidence-based medicine to the development of policies for communication about newborn blood spot screening. Methods: We identified points of communication along the newborn screening pathway and gathered evidence about these communication events. We asked three questions: what research evidence is available about screening and communication; what are parents' experiences of and preferences for communication about screening; and, to what extent does current parent information match the evidence, and meet parents needs? Drawing together these different forms of evidence, we employed consensus development methods, convening a multi-disciplined working group to guide our decisions in drafting communication resources and procedures. Finally we carried out a consultation to garner feedback on these draft communication policies. Results: Feedback from our consultation was largely positive. We made changes to the format of the parent leaflet, and simplified the content. Where we faced contradictory advice, we followed NICE guidelines, prioritising the views of the majority of parents. Discussion: We have employed a process of developing evidence-informed communication policy that incorporates a wide range of evidence, and incorporates the judgement of patients and health professionals, through the use of consensus development methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Education Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Consensus
  • Evidence
  • Information
  • Informed-choice
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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