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Each partner institution of the Swiss Learning Health System (SLHS) is working on a specific topic that will lead to policy briefs and stakeholder dialogues. The listed topics have been selected by means of a prioritization process taking into account their scientific and policy relevance. The topics underline the interdisciplinarity of health sciences and health systems research by including disciplines such as medical science, economics, communication, law, public health and theology.

Evidence Synthesis (Policy Briefs & Rapid Response Synthesis)

A prerequisite for issue deliberation and learning cycles in the health system is the review of evidence that describes possible options to target the problems initially identified. The Swiss Learning Health System (SLHS) delivers two such evidence synthesis tools, a) policy briefs, which serve as a basis for stakeholder dialogues, and b) rapid response syntheses.

Policy Brief

Once an issue for a stakeholder dialogue has been identified, the next step is to prepare a policy brief. A policy brief is a document that describes the problem at stake by explaining the relevant contextual factors. It presents a number of evidence-based solutions to the problem, and for each possible solution it explains relevant aspects, including expected benefits and costs, and potential barriers and facilitators to the implementation. The policy brief is then distributed to the participants of the dialogue prior to the deliberation.

Rapid Response Synthesis

The landscape of the Swiss health system is constantly changing and gaps in services or supplies can occur rather spontaneously. Rapid response syntheses are means to respond meaningfully and quickly to current issues in the health system. They identify and synthesize the best course of action by examining current evidence and possible solutions. The rapid response synthesis also includes an implementation guide with issue specific implementation considerations, monitoring and evaluation guidance.

Stakeholder Dialogue

Stakeholder dialogues are structured communication processes that aim at supporting and engaging stakeholders to implement evidence-based solutions to a particular issue at hand. Based on a policy brief, a group of 6-20 stakeholders work collaboratively toward a common understanding of the problem and the best course of action. 

Dialogues are guided by a moderator, who oversees the deliberation, stimulates participants to confront their views and facilitates confrontation over differences of opinion.

Dialogues in general close by deciding first whether there is agreement over a course of action, or not. Second, if there is no agreement, whether i) there is need to reconvene for a second dialogue to foster agreement, or ii) more research is needed given a possible lack of evidence to agree on the best solution. When outcome i) occurs, the SLHS engages stakeholders in a structured negotiation to solve the differences of opinion. When outcome ii) occurs, the SLHS informs the research agenda of the academic partners to address the open issues.

Stakeholder dialogues are promising mechanisms to successfully inform policy makers about evidence-based actions to identified problems on any levels of health, including policy, service delivery or financing and health information collection. Further, they are mechanisms that support the identification of research topics that match the current needs of the health system and thus create a culture of shared responsibility.

A list of stakeholder dialogues conducted in the SLHS can be found under Topics.


Each partner institution of the SLHS is working on a specific topic that will lead to Policy Briefs and Stakeholder Dialogues. The listed topics have been selected by means of a prioritization process taking into account their scientific and policy relevance.

Finding Evidence

Finding and synthesizing evidence, whether it is for Policy Briefs or Rapid Response Syntheses, is at the very core of the work that the Swiss Learning Health System (SLHS) is doing. Good starting points to look for relevant evidence are filtered resources that summarize and appraise evidence from different studies; these can include systematic reviews, evidence-based guidelines or critical appraised topics.

Cochrane Switzerland

Cochrane Switzerland

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and are internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence-based health care resources. They investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. They also assess the accuracy of a diagnostic test for a given condition in a specific patient group and setting. Cochrane Reviews are peer reviewed and dynamic; they are adapted regularly to incorporate new research. In Switzerland, Cochrane reviews are freely available.



PubMed is a free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. Find systematic reviews in PubMed by limiting your publication search to "Systematic Reviews" or adding it to your search string.



Epistemonikos is a multilingual database of evidence that links to systematic reviews, overview of reviews, primary studies and structured summaries. It is updated continually.


TRIP Database

TRIP Database

Trip is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care. As well as research evidence TRIP also allows clinicians to search across other content types including images, videos, patient information leaflets, educational courses and news.


McMaster Health Forum

McMaster Health Forum

The Canadian-based McMaster Health Forum provides research evidence about pressing issues in three main ways:

  1. evidence products, which are prepared in response to requests from health system leaders;
  2. sources of pre-appraised, synthesized research evidence about how to strengthen health systems (Health Systems Evidence) and social systems (Social Systems Evidence); and
  3. source of high-quality information about optimal aging for older adults, caregivers and professionals (McMaster Optimal Aging Portal).


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Swiss Learning Health System
University of Lucerne
Department of Health Sciences and Medicine
Frohburgstrasse 3
6002 Lucerne
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