Bridging Research, Policy and Practice
In order to be responsive to current health system needs, the research agenda within the Swiss Learning Health System (SLHS) is developed in strong collaboration with all partners involved. This not only facilitates the seamless flow of information and evidence at the levels of policy, research and practice but it will eventually translate into a continuous learning process that matches the system´s research needs with the appropriate results. In turn a culture of shared responsibility is fostered, creating a learning environment that links all actors in the health system.
As depicted in the graph below, the first step in the learning health system is to identify pressing topics and challenges in the health system, which are defined by the SLHS network and relevant stakeholders. Based on different suggestions a topic list is built which is updated on a regular basis. The topic list forms the basis for the process of issue prioritization.
Once issues have been identified and prioritized, the Operational Unit of the SLHS issues calls for evidence syntheses to which all academic partner institutions can reply and consequently commence with the development of Policy Briefs or Rapid Response Syntheses, which will be distributed to all relevant stakeholders. Whereas policy briefs will be used to inform stakeholders in preparation for the following stakeholder dialogue, rapid response syntheses serve as guiding documents for swift courses of action in cases where response time to current health system needs is limited.
One of the core activities of the SLHS is the organization of Stakeholder Dialogues. Those dialogues aim at bringing together different stakeholders with a vested interest in the topic under discussion. Stakeholder dialogues are a structured communication process that uses a deliberative dialogue during which two or more stakeholders work collaboratively toward a common understanding with the aim to reach agreement on the problem at hand.
The final mechanism of the SLHS monitors the implementation efforts, which are led by the relevant stakeholders. Implementation considerations that were formulated by experts of the SLHS platform either in the evidence syntheses documents or as part of the stakeholder dialogue, will serve as guidance for implementation. The SLHS Operational Unit will support and evaluate implementation efforts. Feedback will be presented back to relevant stakeholders in order to further foster the learning health system cycle.