This is the fourth publication at NOKC on identified topics where the current research base is incomplete for decision-making. These topics are on issues that are considered important for decision makers in Norwegian health care services. The identified topics represent by no means all research needs within the health care sector in Norway, but are obtained from the topics NOKC was asked to assess, and with the methods we use.
Several of the NOKC’s HTA reports and systematic reviews conclude that there is a need for high quality randomized controlled trials with relevant outcome measures, appropriate number of included patients and adequate follow-up.
Interventions to treat substance abuse have high priority, yet the research to guide decisions is week. Thus more relevant and robust research on interventions for substance abuse is needed, and this was identified through different projects by NOKC in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The coordination reform assumes that municipalities will take over some tasks from hospitals, particularly for patients with chronic diseases. Two of NOKC’s reports highlight a need for studies that address issues related to the coordination of activities between the different health care levels.
Prevention of disease has high priority, and several interventions are available. Yet there is a need for more knowledge about the effects of interventions for smoking cessation and for promoting physical activity. NOKC also emphasized a need for Norwegian studies on how school health services can be used to promote better health and prevent life style diseases amongst children and young people.
NOKC’s report on colorectal cancer screening concluded that there is a need for a study comparing the two current screening methods for colorectal cancer (examination of occult blood in feces and sigmoidoscopy). Such a study is already being planned.