The linkages between decisions about health research and policy and actual health outcomes may be extraordinarily difficult to specify. We performed a pilot application of a "road mapping" and technology assessment technique to perinatal health to illustrate how this technique can clarify the relations between available options and improved health outcomes. We used a combination of data-mining techniques and qualitative analyses to set up the underlying structure of a societal health outcomes road map. Societal health outcomes road mapping may be a useful tool for enhancing the ability of the public health community, policymakers, and other stakeholders, such as research administrators, to understand health research and policy options.
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