The Division for Health Services (previously the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services) in the Norwegian Institute of Public Health publishes an annual report of the knowledge gaps that we have identified during our work with systematic reviews and health technology assessments (HTA). The identified gaps in this report relate to issues we have been commissioned to assess in 2015, but they cover of course just some of the gaps in health and welfare nationally and internationally.
Twenty-four of our 30 systematic reviews and HTAs published in 2015 concluded that there is a need for more and better research. There is also a need for more systematic reviews and updates of existing reviews. This includes questions regarding public health, oral health, screening, vaccine, pharmaceutical technologies, medical devices, complex interventions in hospitals, patient safety programs, eating disorders, chronic illnesses, organisation of care and welfare interventions.
Based on the reports published in 2015, there is a need for studies that directly compare relevant interventions, studies that report on important outcome measures, and studies with longer follow up periods. An identified knowledge gap does not necessarily imply that new research should be initiated. We should always consider need for research in connection with other information.