Health policy analysis is a multi-disciplinary approach to public policy that aims to explain the interaction between institutions, interests and ideas in the policy process. It is useful both retrospectively and prospectively, to understand past policy failures and successes and to plan for future policy implementation.
The case for undertaking policy analysis has been made by a number of scholars (Parsons 1995) and 15 years ago, in this journal, Walt and Gilson (1994) argued it was central to health reforms. However, there has been much less attention given to how to do policy analysis, what research designs, theories or methods best inform policy analysis.
Reich and Cooper (1996) designed and have updated a software tool to help researchers and policy-makers analyse the political dimensions of public policies. Others, such as Varvasovszky and Brugha (2000), have designed guidelines for undertaking stakeholder analysis, as a part of health policy analysis. Bossert (1998) developed an approach to analyse choices for the decentralization of health sectors. Sabatier (1999, 2007) has explored different theoretical frameworks of the policy process