Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Global Health


John Lavis


Michael Wilson



Committee Member

Nancy Carter


Research objectives: 1) Develop an online repository of policy-relevant documents addressing healthcare renewal in Canada; and 2) describe the general contents of policy-relevant documents addressing healthcare renewal in Canada. Methods: The methods for this study were iteratively developed using an approach similar to a scoping review. Documents were identified through website hand-searches and sixteen Canadian health organizations that contributed to the development of the online repository. The majority of organizations are government health ministries/departments or government-supported health organizations. The focus of the analysis was to calculate general descriptive frequencies of the distribution of documents included in the online repository, specifically: 1) the general characteristics of the documents, such as document type, publication year and jurisdictional focus; 2) document themes by national priority areas; 3) document themes by health system topics; and 4) contributing organizations. Results: A total of 304 documents were coded for inclusion in the online repository
(http://eihrportal.org). The Health Council of Canada contributed the largest amount of documents (n=60, 19%). The top three types of documents are health and health system data (n=75, 25%), situation analysis (n=72, 24%) and jurisdictional review (n=49, 16%). The top three national priority areas addressed in the documents are health human resources (n=270, 89%), quality as a performance indicator (n=210, 69%) and information technology (n=183, 60%). The least commonly addressed national priority areas are technology assessment (n=19, 6%), prescription drug coverage (n=68, 22%) and Aboriginal health (n=87, 29%). Conclusion: The process of developing a systematic method for identifying policy-relevant documents and retrieving useful information from these documents can be reproduced by anyone interested in using this type of evidence to inform their health policymaking. A number of implications exist for policy and research, both in Canada and in low- and middle-income countries, which have to be considered in relation to the unique nature of this type of evidence.

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