Building Partnerships Across the Systematic Review Community in the United States: Efforts by the AHRQ EPC Program

Session Type
Capacity building in evidence synthesis
Fiordalisi C1, Kuhn E1, Holmer H1, Helfand M1, Chang C2, Umscheid C2
1Scientific Resource Center to the AHRQ EPC Program, USA
2Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, USA

Background: The Scientific Resource Center (SRC) supports the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) Program in convening meetings to build partnerships across the evidence-synthesis community. We explore a range of meeting formats to encourage interactive discussion, embrace complexity of commonly faced issues in systematic reviews, and problem-solve collectively. Objective: To disseminate recent efforts in the EPC Program to build partnerships amongst the US systematic review (SR) community.
Methods: In celebration of the EPC Program’s 25th Anniversary, we hosted three virtual “Grand Rounds” style-sessions in 2022. Meeting participants hailed from the EPC Program, US Cochrane Network, Guidelines International Network - North America, Society for Research Synthesis Methods, US GRADE Network, Veterans Affairs Evidence Synthesis Program, and the Center for Evidence-Based Policy. Sessions most often utilized a roundtable panel format, with ample time reserved for polling and discussion amongst audience members.
Results: Our virtual Grand Rounds series provided attendees with diverse perspectives on complex problems faced in evidence-based practice (EBP). Speakers were leaders in EBP who made significant contributions to the EPC Program before assuming other roles in clinical practice leadership, policy, and research funding. Speakers provided the following lessons learned for systematic reviewers: have a clearly defined partner, and adequately understand their expectations; ensure common understanding of end-user needs at all staff levels, to improve project success; use ‘failures’ as opportunities for learning; consider the tradeoffs between cost, time, and quality in scoping a review; and match the rigor of review methods to the requirements of the decision being faced. Conclusion: Systematic reviewers need to leverage existing expertise and rapidly share best practices to create the nimble and responsive evidence synthesis systems of the future. The EPC Program has demonstrated commitment to building partnerships and infrastructure to further support collaboration amongst the evidence synthesis community, advance systematic review methodology, and ultimately improve the quality and trustworthiness of systematic reviews for decisionmakers. Relevance to patients: The EPC Program meeting series offers systematic reviewers the opportunity to refine procedures, advance review methodology, and rapidly share best-practices, which in turn produces more trustworthy systematic reviews for healthcare decisionmakers.