Environmental scanning to assess climate change readiness across Canadian health systems

Session Type
Rapid reviews and other rapid evidence products
Thomson D1, Webster R2, Haddaway N3, Hartling L4
1Cochrane Climate-Health Working Group, Canada
2CHEO Research Institute, Canada
3Freelance research scientist, United Kingdom
4University of Alberta; Cochrane Child Health Field, Canada

Background: Across Canadian health systems, there is considerable variation in the degree to which climate change is understood as a health issue, and the breadth of relevant policies and programs. Understanding the current state of these policies and programs requires a method which enables rapid and efficient searching and collation of information, much of which is likely unpublished. The environmental scan method, based on formulating a transparent and reproducible search strategy; conducting screening and inclusion/exclusion according to predefined criteria; carrying out systematized data extraction; and, conducting appropriate analysis of findings, is well-suited for this need.
Objectives: 1) Present the results of an environmental scan across Canadian organizations directly responsible for public health and health care. 2) Discuss the strengths of the environmental scan method for rapidly collecting information from a range of sources.
Methods: Stages will be: 1) Websites of relevant organizations will be searched, using a web-scraping app, to identify individual webpages presenting information on climate-relevant activity within those organizations. Included webpages will contain a description of climate-related activity within the organization. 2) LinkedIn is a social media channel focused on professional networking and career development. It will be searched for people working at Canadian health ministries, health authorities and hospitals who describe their current position as being related to climate change. Position information will be extracted. 3) Results will be charted in a standardized form. 4) A narrative report will be produced summarizing the extracted data, including presentation of geographic locations, types of positions, organizational types and/or sectors with more or less climate change-related activity.
Results: Full results will be presented at the Colloquium, along with conclusions about the strengths and limitations of the environmental scanning method.
Conclusions: Environmental scanning is a developing type of evidence synthesis. Case studies of where this approach has been use and how it has been applied will be useful for strengthening guidance and building further understanding of the research questions for which it is best-suited.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: No direct involvement.