Therapeutic Jurisprudence: A Framework for Evidence-Informed Health Care Policymaking
Amy T. Campbell
State University of New York - Upstate Medical University
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 33, pp. 281-292, 2010
Translation of evidence-based practice (EBP) into health care policy is of growing importance, with discussions most often focused on how to fund and otherwise promote EBP through policy (i.e., at system level, beyond the bedside). Less attention has been focused on how to ensure that such policies – as enacted and implemented, and as distinguished from the practices underlying policies – do not themselves cause harm, or at least frustrate accomplishment of “therapeutic” goals of EBP. On a different front, principles of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) in law have been developed, most prominently in certain areas of law (e.g., mental health and family law), to support more collaborative, less traumatic advocacy and conﬂict resolution. This paper draws on current applications of TJ and translates such into a therapeutic approach to health care policymaking that moves beyond promotion of EBP in policy. Health care policy itself may be viewed as an intervention that impacts health, positively or not. The goal is to offer a framework for health care policymaking grounded in TJ principles that does not focus on which evidence is “right” for policy use, but rather how we can better understand how consequences of policy, intended or not, affect the well-being of populations. Such framework thus moves policymaking from an either/or debate to a data-and human-driven process. Utilizing TJ framing questions, policies can be developed and evaluated through open dialogue among diverse voices at the table, including – like interventions – the “patients” or, here, targets of such policies. Collectively, they clarify how ends sought – to enhance (or at least not impair) health – can best be achieved through policy when needed, recognizing that as an intervention, there are limits to and boundaries on the usefulness of policy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: therapeutic jurisprudence, health care policymaking
Date posted: December 18, 2010 ; Last revised: December 22, 2010