Methods of a multi-faceted rapid knowledge synthesis project to inform the implementation of a new health service model: Collaborative Emergency Centres
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BACKGROUND: The aim of this rapid knowledge synthesis was to provide relevant research evidence to inform the implementation of a new health service in Nova Scotia, Canada: Collaborative Emergency Centres (CECs). CECs propose to deliver both primary and urgent care to rural populations where traditional delivery is a challenge. This paper reports on the methods used in a rapid knowledge synthesis project to provide timely evidence to policy makers about this novel healthcare delivery model. METHODS: We used a variety of methods, including a jurisdictional/scoping review, modified systematic review methodologies, and integrated knowledge translation. We scanned publicly available information about similar centres across our country to identify important components of CECs and CEC-type models to operationalize the definition of a CEC. We conducted literature searches in PubMed, CINAHL, and EMBASE, and in the grey literature, to identify evidence on the key structures and processes and effectiveness of CEC-type models of care delivery. Our searches were limited to published systematic reviews. The research team facilitated two integrated knowledge translation workshops during the project to engage stakeholders, to refine the research goals and objectives, and to share interim and final results. Citations and included articles were categorized by whether they addressed the CEC model or component structures and processes. Data and key messages were extracted from these reviews to inform implementation. RESULTS: CEC-type models have limited peer-reviewed evidence available; no peer-reviewed studies on CECs as a standalone healthcare model were found. As a result, our evidence search and synthesis was revised to focus on core CEC-type structures and processes, prioritized through consensus methods with the stakeholder group, and resulted in provision of a meaningful evidence synthesis to help inform the development and implementation of CECs in Nova Scotia. CONCLUSIONS: A variety of methods and partnership with decision-makers and stakeholders enabled the project to address the limitations in the evidence regarding CECs and meet the challenge of identifying the best available evidence in a transparent way to meet the needs of decision-makers in a short timeframe.
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