Evidence-Based State Health Policymaking: Researcher and Policymaker Perspectives

In August 2014, researchers from AcademyHealth fielded two web-based surveys—one of state government officials and one of researchers working on state policy issues—for the purpose of assessing the role of research in guiding state health policy decision making.

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The survey findings point to strong demand among state policymakers for information and evidence in support of policy development while researchers report that most state policymakers are equipped to use research in policy development. At the same time, a variety of barriers, particularly gaps in data and data access and in the quality of the communication between researchers and policymakers, impedes evidence-based policy development.

The findings suggest three strategies for improvement:

  • Strengthening state data and analytics. 
  • Maintaining a policy research clearinghouse. 
  • Establishing mechanisms for ongoing communication.