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Strategies to fill knowledge gaps in health care - experiences from the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment (SBU)

Date and Location




Monday 23 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Stella Jacobson

Contact person

Stella Jacobson
Emelie Heintz
Abstract text
Background: Eliminating knowledge gaps in health care is important to avoid spending resources on potentially ineffective or even harmful treatments. In 2010, the Swedish Government assigned the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment (SBU) to identify health technologies whose effects have been insufficiently assessed. The platform of this work consists of an official database on SBU’s website. However, a database alone has no intrinsic value unless the information is used either to stimulate new research that can fill the knowledge gaps or for setting priorities in health care. Here, some of SBU’s efforts to stimulate new clinical research are summarized. Collaboration with stakeholders: With the purpose of forming a strategy to fill knowledge gaps in specific medical fields SBU has gathered clinical experts, decision makers and patient associations on a national level. An example of this was a national workshop focusing on how to strengthen research in dental care in Sweden. This resulted in a national research school in clinical odontology. Based on this positive experience SBU aims to initiate similar working groups in other medical fields. Collaboration with the Swedish Research Council: SBU has also initiated collaboration with the Swedish Research Council (SRC). SRC has an annual call for grant applications for research with the purpose of filling identified knowledge gaps in health care. The collaboration with SBU was initiated to ensure that applications fulfill the definition of a scientific uncertainty. The questions addressed must be submitted to SBU or registered in the UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (DUETs). SBU will consider initiating similar collaborations with other research funds. Conclusions: To fill identified knowledge gaps there is a need for collaboration on all levels in health care, as well as with research funds. Such collaborations will hopefully lead to a more effective health care.