Health Policy

Method and Written Report Guidelines

Analytical Essay on Health Policy

One of the Canmeds competencies relate to being a Health Advocate. A critical analysis of health policy addresses this competency, in addition to the Scholar competencies. Residents could choose a “hot topic” or a traditionally controversial topic and prepare to search and critically appraise the literature to come to a conclusion or recommendation, supported by the evidence. Frequently such topics involve considerations of cost, including opportunity cost, and other risks and benefits of supporting or not supporting the topic at hand. For example, residents may choose to analyze the risks and benefits of the legalization versus decriminalization of marijuana versus maintaining the status quo. Other possible topics may include the various ways of funding health care (private versus public), how physicians are compensated (including using chronic disease incentives), physician-assisted suicide, or other health policy issues. Box 5 describes some recommendations for an analysis of health policy.

Box 5: Recommendations for a scholar project analyzing health policy

  1. Description of the problem
  2. Research question
  3. Description of the literature search strategy.
  4. Critical appraisal of the evidence looking at all sides of the issue. Ideally a body of evidence would be considered as opposed to a single study.
  5. Application of the evidence to the problem at hand. Include considerations on cost, opportunity cost, legal ramifications, ethical considerations, and other considerations as appropriate.
  6. If research evidence has already tried to evaluate the hypothesis you are exploring, this should be presented and once again critically appraised.
  7. Conclusion/Summary: directly relating to the answers found to the research question.