Rapid evidence synthesis to enable innovation and adoption in health and social care

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The rapid identification and adoption of effective innovations in healthcare is a known challenge. The strongest evidence base for innovations can be provided by evidence synthesis, but this is frequently a lengthy process and even rapid versions of this can be time-consuming and complex. In the UK, the Accelerated Access Review and Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) have provided the impetus to develop a consistently rapid process to support identification and adoption of high value innovations in the English NHS.
The Greater Manchester Applied Research Collaboration (ARC-GM) developed a framework for a rapid evidence synthesis (RES) approach, which is highly integrated within the innovation process of the Greater Manchester AHSN and the associated health care and research ecosystem. The RES uses evidence synthesis approaches and draws on the GRADE Evidence to Decision framework to provide rapid assessments of the existing evidence and its relevance to specific decision problems. We implemented this in a real-time context of decision-making around adoption of innovative health technologies.
Key stakeholders in the Greater Manchester decision-making process for healthcare innovations have found that our approach is both timely and flexible; it is valued for its combination of rigour and speed.
Our RES approach rapidly and systematically identifies, appraises and contextualises relevant evidence, which can then be transparently incorporated into decisions about wider adoption of innovations. The RES also identifies limitations in existing evidence for innovations and this can inform subsequent evaluations. There is substantial interest from other ARCs and AHSNs in implementing a similar process. We are currently exploring methods to make completed RES publicly available. We are also exploring methods to evaluate the impact of using RES as more implementation decisions are made.
The RES framework we have implemented combines transparency and consistency with flexibility and rapidity. It therefore maximises utility in a real-time decision-making context for healthcare innovations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSystematic Reviews
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Oct 2022


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