Identifying high priority methodological questions for conducting rapid systematic reviews: Preliminary results from an eDelphi study
2Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre, CIUSSS du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, Montreal, Canada., Canada
3Knowledge Translation Program, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Unity Health Toronto. Epidemiology Division and Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto., Canada
4EPPI-Centre (UCL), Social Science Research Unit in the Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, United Kingdom. Professor of Public Policy at UCL Social Research Institute, London, United Kingdom., United Kingdom
5University of Perugia, Perugia - Italy. Chair HTA section of the European Public Health Association - EUPHA, Italy
6Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, Ottawa, ON, Canada., Canada
7McMaster Health Forum, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, Canada
8Clinical Research Institute, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (E.A.A.)., Lebanon
9JBI, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia., Australia
10Africa Centre for Evidence, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa., South Africa
11Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia., Australia
Background: Rapid systematic reviews (RRs) are a useful tool to provide healthcare decision-makers with the most up-to-date scientific evidence. Yet there remains much uncertainty about the most effective and efficient methods for carrying out RRs. In fact, there is even uncertainty about which are the main methodological concerns for RRs.
Objectives: To elicit a consensus from RR researchers on what they consider the most important methodological questions when conducting RRs in time-efficient ways.
Methods: People with experience in conducting and using evidence syntheses (researchers, knowledge users, policymakers, and healthcare providers) were invited to participate in an eDelphi study. A core group of experts generated an initial list of questions based on the available literature. Participants were then asked to rate and rank the importance of the methodological questions. Three survey rounds were performed to achieve a consensus. Items deemed of low importance were removed at each round. Items rated to be of high importance by ≥75% of participants were included in the final list.
Results: Each survey round elicited feedback from 52 to 70 experts. Of participants, 78% self-identified as researchers, 13% as healthcare practitioners, and 9% as policymakers. More than 30% of participants reported 15+ years of experience in evidence synthesis. The first survey round started with 29 items, and new items were suggested. In the second round, 26 items remained on the list. In the final round, only 7 Items were believed to be of high importance by ≥75% of participants. Three items concerned the search strategy, two focused on study selection, and two focused on quality/bias assessment. Conclusion: Seven items were consistently identified as highly important methodological concerns related to RRs. A consensus meeting will be held to discuss additional items and to generate a summary document containing the final priority list. The results will be used to inform further research in this area, contributing to the development of reliable and rigorous RRs. Patient, public or healthcare consumer involvement: Given the emphasis on the methodological aspects of RRs, patients were not included. The eDelphi does include interested parties, such as guideline and policy developers and end-users.