New initiative to build capacity in evidence informed decision making in healthcare

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Policymakers, healthcare institutions, clinicians, researchers and the public will benefit from its findings

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27 August 2019 | 0

NUI Galway (NUIG) researchers are leading the Evidence Synthesis Ireland initiative to better inform Irish healthcare decision makers.

The nationwide initiative aims to build capacity and knowledge in evidence-informed, data-driven decision making. Policymakers, healthcare institutions, clinicians, researchers and the public all stand to benefit from its findings.

Evidence synthesis, or systematic review, combines information from multiple studies on the same topic, to improve understanding of the findings. Steroids, for example, can save the life of the new-born when given to women about to give birth prematurely. However, this only became clear when individual clinical trials were compared; then the method became routinely practised.

The Health Research Board will put €1.5 million towards Evidence Synthesis Ireland over three years, and the Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland will provide a further €500,000.

As part of the initiative, Cochrane Ireland will be relaunched. The non-profit organisation promotes evidence-informed health decision-making, conducts research and produces systematic reviews.

“Healthcare decisions should be based on the full range of information that is available on a topic; it can’t rely on one or more individual pieces of information, or studies,” said Prof Declan Devane, director, Evidence Synthesis, Cochrane Ireland and School of Nursing & Midwifery, NUI Galway. “We want to build people’s capacity to understand, conduct and use synthesis of evidence across health topics.”

To develop capacity, Evidence Synthesis Ireland plans to offer a training programme, webinar series, fellowship programme and studentship scheme. The next call for the fellowship programme and studentship scheme will be in September. For more information, visit: www.evidencesynthesisireland.ie/fellowships

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