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Due to changes in NIHR funding in evidence synthesis, this Cochrane Group is no longer active. We are so grateful for the work of our contributors.

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Resources for evidence-informed health policymaking

Support for policymakers

PDQ-Evidence (

PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick)-Evidence facilitates rapid access to the best available evidence for decisions about health systems. It includes systematic reviews, overviews of reviews (including evidence-based policy briefs), primary studies included in systematic reviews and structured summaries of that evidence.

The aim of PDQ-Evidence is to provide rapid access to systematic reviews of health systems evidence. A unique feature of PDQ-Evidence is that it links together systematic reviews, overviews of reviews and primary studies, thus providing a highly efficient method for searching. In addition, it includes translations of the titles and abstracts of included records to facilitate searching in different languages and it is continually updated by searching multiple sources of systematic reviews and overviews of reviews.

PDQ-Evidence is not a comprehensive database of health systems research. It only includes primary studies that have been included in a systematic review.

SUPPORT Summaries (
Concise summaries of systematic reviews of the effects of health systems interventions for low- and middle-income countries.

SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) (
The SUPPORT tools for policymaking were published as a series of articles in Health Research Policy and Systems in December 2009: The tools were written for people responsible for making decisions about health policies and programmes (i.e., health system managers and policymakers) and for those who support them. 

SURE Guides for Preparing and Using Evidence-Based Policy Briefs (/sure-guides)
These guides are intended for those people responsible for preparing and supporting the use of policy briefs and ensuring that decisions about health systems are well-informed by research evidence. The guides focus specifically on these issues in the context of African health systems and the examples used are taken from policy briefs that address important problems in African countries.

To download the complete SURE Guides, click here (SURE Guides zip file)

After you download and unzip them, they can be opened in your browser by double clicking on this file: SURE Guides.html. Please note, if you are unable to view the SURE Guides in your browser, try opening them with Internet Explorer or another browser.

Rapid responses
Decision makers are sometimes faced with issues that need responses within hours or days. In these circumstances, a policy brief may not be needed, or preparing a policy brief may not be possible. Nonetheless, to ensure that their responses are well-informed, decision makers need rapid access to research evidence that has been both appraised and contextualised. This requires clarifying the question being asked, finding relevant research (ideally a systematic review), and reliably summarising and communicating the research findings.

We have developed a set of resources for preparing rapid responses to policymakers in need of research evidence. These resources include a template for rapid responses. These can be found in the SURE Guides (see above).

Improving the use of research evidence in guideline development (
A series of reviews of methods that are used in the development of guidelines prepared as background documentation for advice on ways in which WHO could improve the use of research evidence in the development of recommendations, including guidelines and policies. Available in a compiled document in English and Spanish.