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What's more important - timeliness or accuracy of results in providing evidence? Preliminary results on a research program on rapid reviews

Date and Location




Sunday 22 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Andrea Tricco

Contact person

Sharon Straus
Abstract text
Background: Health decision-makers (including clinicians, patients, and policy-makers) need timely access to health information. Frequently, this information can be obtained from a systematic review; however, the amount of time it takes to complete a systematic review may not suit the needs of some decision-makers. Instead, they may be forced to rely on expert opinion or the results of single studies to make important decisions. Rapid reviews are a form of knowledge synthesis in which components of the systematic review process are simplified or omitted to produce information in a timely manner. Yet rapid reviews might be susceptible to biased results as a consequence of streamlining the systematic review process. Objectives: To develop a comprehensive list of rapid review methods and categorize each method by feasibility, timeliness, comprehensiveness, and risk of bias. Methods: Two previous systematic reviews on rapid review methods will be updated by searching electronic databases (e.g., MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library) and conducting targeted Internet searches (e.g., Google). Citations (titles/abstracts) and full-text articles will be screened, and data abstraction will be conducted by two reviewers independently. This list will be supplemented by an electronic survey of international rapid review programs. A comprehensive list of all rapid review methods will be compiled and categorized by feasibility, timeliness, comprehensiveness and risk of bias. Results: Our research proposal was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and is currently underway. Preliminary results will be presented at the conference. Conclusions: Our results will be a first step to understanding how rapid reviews can be used to balance decision-makers’ need for accuracy, as well as timeliness. By advancing the methods used in rapid reviews, the quality of health care decision-making will be enhanced, and researchers can better ensure that decisions are based on the best possible evidence.