To support evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) for safe re-opening and operation of schools and daycares, the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT) has maintained since May 2020 a living rapid review answering the following question: “What is the role of schools and daycares in COVID-19 transmission”. Traditional rapid review methodology was modified for the COVID-19 context. This presentation will describe the global reach and usefulness of this living rapid review.
Following completion of each update of the living rapid review, findings were disseminated broadly with the aim of informing policy and public health practice. Key dissemination strategies include e-mails to key contacts and a subscriber list; highlight in a monthly newsletter; media outreach; and social media. The review's reach was analyzed using Google Analytics, citation tracking, and qualitative feedback.
Between May 2020 and April 2021, the living review has been updated 14 times. The posted review has been viewed over 5000 times across 46 countries. The review has been cited and indexed in over 40 sources, including key governmental and non-governmental reports and guidelines. The NCCMT has received positive qualitative feedback on the review's value in informing the public health response related to schools and daycares in various jurisdictions across Canada. Key stakeholders have expanded the review's reach organically as they use the evidence in practice and share the review with their networks.
Using a living rapid review to continuously provide high-quality synthesized evidence amidst the evolving COVID-19 research literature demonstrates a responsive approach to decision makers' requests for evidence. An emerging challenge is reaching the proper stakeholders responsible for EIDM, particularly during public health emergencies with many competing high-priority questions and decisions to be made.
As the evidence landscape changes due to a surge in literature, evidence-informed decision making can be supported by rapid but rigorous syntheses that evaluate quality and emerging recommendations. A long-standing, trusting relationship with decision makers is key to optimizing living rapid review methodology to meet the evidence needs of decision makers despite the changing literature.