PHCoE produces rapid reviews to provide key MHS stakeholders with timely information regarding the state of the science for specified topics that may inform psychological health care decisions.
What is a rapid review?
Systematic reviews are considered one of the highest levels of evidence synthesis for informing evidence-based health care practices and policies. They provide decision-makers with comprehensive, rigorously evaluated summaries of scientific evidence that address important clinical questions. However, the systematic review methodology is resource intensive and can take up to several years to complete.
The “rapid review” has emerged in response to the need for evidence summaries that can be produced in a shorter period of time. Although there is no standard methodology, rapid reviews involve modifying aspects of the systematic review methodology to reduce time and resource requirements.
How does PHCoE conduct rapid reviews?
PHCoE receives topics of interest for evidence synthesis from leaders and decision-makers in the MHS. A team of PHCoE staff works with the requesting stakeholder to refine key questions and devise a protocol for conducting the review. The table below illustrates several aspects of the systematic review methodology that may be strategically modified in the rapid review protocol. The PHCoE team then executes the agreed upon methodology to produce the report. Rapid review reports can vary widely depending on the stakeholder’s goal for the review, scope of the topic, and the allowable time frame.
Expediting the Systematic Review Process
|12 months – several years||1 – 6 months|
|Comprehensive key questions addressing effectiveness, safety, cost, etc.||Limited number and complexity of key questions|
|Sensitive, systematic search for published and grey literature||
Abbreviated search using a limited number of databases and resources
May apply restrictions such as publication date, study types, language, etc.
Inclusive, pre-defined criteria for inclusion
Dual review and selection of studies
Rigorous full-text review and comprehensive data elements for extraction
Narrow criteria for inclusion, which may be iteratively redefined based on search results
Single reviewer screening and selection of studies
Limited data elements for extraction
Qualitative and quantitative synthesis of findings
May include meta-analysis
Comprehensive critical appraisal of individual studies and quality of evidence assessment
Descriptive summary of findings
Characteristics of included studies
May include critical appraisal of individual study designs