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Evaluating Complex Health Services Interventions: Challenges, Goals, and Proposals for Progress

This report from a December 2015 AcademyHealth meeting discusses challenges to achieving an evidence-based approach to identifying complex health services interventions that will improve outcomes, as well as goals and proposals presented by participants.

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The rate of change in health policy at all levels has increased dramatically. From programs to implement health system reform to the responses to emerging threats such as Ebola and Zika, policymakers, health professionals, and community and patient advocates are being pushed to respond to public health and clinical

issues with ever more complex interventions adopted and implemented on ever shorter timelines. All this must happen in an atmosphere of polarized public debate, underscoring more than ever the importance of an evidence base to justify decisions.

In response, AcademyHealth convened a meeting, Evaluating Complex Public Health Interventions, to learn from policymakers, advocacy groups, research funders, and researchers how to strengthen the evidence base on which policy can rest. The goals of the meeting were to understand current obstacles to evaluating policies and complex interventions and to chart a path to achieving both rigor and relevance in future research. This report details the December 2015 meeting.