What Counts as Evidence for Adolescent Preventive Health Services Policy and Practice? A Study of the US Preventive Services Task Force

How do intermediary organizations manage political pressures, value disagreements, differing scientific approaches, and organizational interests as they develop research-based guidelines for practice?

Some organizations play a critical role in packaging and communicating research to multiple constituencies including practitioners, policymakers and other decision makers. The investigators will study two leading organizations that develop research-based guidelines for pediatric and adolescent physicians: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Both organizations issue recommendations, which are often adopted by policymakers and insurance companies. The researchers will compare six cases: three in which the groups arrived at similar recommendations and three in which they differed. Looking at publications and meeting records, the team will examine how these two intermediaries acquired and interpreted evidence, their internal debates, and the sources of their disagreements. The investigators will also interview 45 key informants, including those leading the syntheses, reviewers of the guidelines, relevant historians, and medical staff from a federal agency with its own evidence center.