Evidence-Based Policymaking: What Human Service Agencies Can Learn from Implementation Science and Integrated Data Systems

Paper by Sharon Zanti & M. Lori Thomas: “The evidence-based policymaking movement compels government leaders and agencies to rely on the best available research evidence to inform policy and program decisions, yet how to do this effectively remains a challenge. This paper demonstrates how the core concepts from two emerging fields—Implementation Science (IS) and Integrated Data Systems (IDS)—can help human service agencies and their partners realize the aims of the evidence-based policymaking movement. An IS lens can help agencies address the role of context when implementing evidence-based practices, complement other quality and process improvement efforts, simultaneously study implementation and effectiveness outcomes, and guide de-implementation of ineffective policies. The IDS approach offers governance frameworks to support ethical and legal data use, provides high-quality administrative data for in-house analyses, and allows for more time-sensitive analyses of pressing agency needs. Ultimately, IS and IDS can support human service agencies in more efficiently using government resources to deliver the best available programs and policies to the communities they serve. Although this paper focuses on examples within the United States context, key concepts and guidance are intended to be broadly applicable across geographies, given that IS, IDS, and the evidence-based policymaking movement are globally relevant….(More)”.