University of Sussex
Barriers and opportunities for evidence-based health service planning the example of developing a Decision Analytic Model to.pdf (176.04 kB)

Barriers and opportunities for evidence-based health service planning: the example of developing a Decision Analytic Model to plan services for sexually transmitted infections in the UK

Download (176.04 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 20:57 authored by Catherine R H Aicken, Nigel T Armstrong, Jackie Cassell, Neil MacDonald, Angela C Bailey, Sandra A Johnson, Catherine H Mercer
Background Decision Analytic Models (DAMs) are established means of evidence-synthesis to differentiate between health interventions. They have mainly been used to inform clinical decisions and health technology assessment at the national level, yet could also inform local health service planning. For this, a DAM must take into account the needs of the local population, but also the needs of those planning its services. Drawing on our experiences from stakeholder consultations, where we presented the potential utility of a DAM for planning local health services for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK, and the evidence it could use to inform decisions regarding different combinations of service provision, in terms of their costs, cost-effectiveness, and public health outcomes, we discuss the barriers perceived by stakeholders to the use of DAMs to inform service planning for local populations, including (1) a tension between individual and population perspectives; (2) reductionism; and (3) a lack of transparency regarding models, their assumptions, and the motivations of those generating models. Discussion Technological advances, including improvements in computing capability, are facilitating the development and use of models such as DAMs for health service planning. However, given the current scepticism among many stakeholders, encouraging informed critique and promoting trust in models to aid health service planning is vital, for example by making available and explicit the methods and assumptions underlying each model, associated limitations, and the process of validation. This can be achieved by consultation and training with the intended users, and by allowing access to the workings of the models, and their underlying assumptions (e.g. via the internet), to show how they actually work. Summary Constructive discussion and education will help build a consensus on the purposes of STI services, the need for service planning to be evidence-based, and the potential for mathematical tools like DAMs to facilitate this.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version


BMC Health Services Research









Article number


Event location


Department affiliated with

  • Primary Care and Public Health Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Open Access (FOA) Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected