Interactive website for communicating the results from a living systematic review and network meta-analysis for COVID-19
Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, living systematic reviews with network meta-analyses (NMAs) summarized the growing evidence base to assist with decision-making. However, such evidence syntheses can produce an overwhelmingly large amount of information necessitating additional strategies for communication of findings.
Objective: To describe how an interactive website was developed and used to present results from a living systematic review and NMA addressing COVID-19 prophylaxis and treatment.
Methods: A working group of health research methodologists, clinicians, and knowledge users brainstormed ideas for the website including what information to include and what functions to make available. We collaborated with a web developer who utilized results from the working group discussion to draft the website, incorporating subsequent feedback from the working group until we approved the final version.
Results: The website (www.covid19lnma.com) provides a summary of the results of each living systematic review including the number of patients, studies, interventions, and outcomes included alongside a table categorizing interventions from the most to the least effective/harmful for all outcomes. Additionally, users can select an intervention and comparator to generate a summary of findings (SoF) table that includes plain language summaries per outcome. This interactive feature allowing users to generate SoF tables for pairwise comparisons of interest to them is unique to this format of publication. Launched in August 2021, the website has had a steady flow of traffic with users around the world. Updates are made as new results become available with the date of analysis provided to end users.
Conclusions: Interactive websites can summarize the results of NMAs while providing users with the ability to tailor these results for their needs while overcoming challenges with publication delays to ensure timely access to information. By incorporating plain language summaries, such a website can also facilitate knowledge translation to the general public. Studies are required to understand whether these websites increase access to and improve understanding of NMA results and how to best improve them.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: Patient partners were not involved in the development of the website.