Rapid reviews versus full systematic reviews: an inventory of current methods and practice in Health Technology Assessment

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Australia.
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care (Impact Factor: 1.31). 02/2008; 24(2):133-9. DOI: 10.1017/S0266462308080185
Source: PubMed


This review assessed current practice in the preparation of rapid reviews by health technology assessment (HTA) organizations, both internationally and in the Australian context, and evaluated the available peer-reviewed literature pertaining to the methodology used in the preparation of these reviews.
A survey tool was developed and distributed to a total of fifty International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) members and other selected HTA organizations. Data on a broad range of themes related to the conduct of rapid reviews were collated, discussed narratively, and subjected to simple statistical analysis where appropriate. Systematic searches of the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and the Australian Medical Index were undertaken in March 2007 to identify literature pertaining to rapid review methodology. Comparative studies, guidelines, program evaluations, methods studies, commentaries, and surveys were considered for inclusion.
Twenty-three surveys were returned (46 percent), with eighteen agencies reporting on thirty-six rapid review products. Axiomatic trends were identified, but there was little cohesion between organizations regarding the contents, methods, and definition of a rapid review. The twelve studies identified by the systematic literature search did not specifically address the methodology underpinning rapid review; rather, many highlighted the complexity of the area. Authors suggested restricted research questions and truncated search strategies as methods to limit the time taken to complete a review.
Rather than developing a formalized methodology by which to conduct rapid reviews, agencies should work toward increasing the transparency of the methods used for each review. It is perhaps the appropriate use, not the appropriate methodology, of a rapid review that requires future consideration.

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Available from: Inger Natvig Norderhaug
    • "Overall, 62% of participants responded to our international survey and ranking exercises, and respondents may have different experiences and perceptions of rapid reviews compared to nonrespondents . However, our response rate is much higher than a previous similar survey [6] and consistent with expected response rates from Internet surveys [24]. Furthermore, our results are based on self-reported data and might not reflect real-world practices rapid reviews. "
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    ABSTRACT: To solicit experiences with and perceptions of rapid reviews from stakeholders, including researchers, policy-makers, industry, journal editors, and healthcare providers. An international survey of rapid review producers and modified Delphi. Forty rapid review producers responded on our survey (63% response rate). Eighty-eight rapid reviews with 31 different names were reported. Rapid review commissioning organizations were predominantly government (78%) and healthcare (58%) organizations. Several rapid review approaches were identified, including updating the literature search of previous reviews (92%); limiting the search strategy by date of publication (88%), and; having only one reviewer screen (85%), abstract data (84%) and assess the quality of studies (86%). The modified Delphi included input from 113 stakeholders on the rapid review approaches from the survey. Approach 1 (search limited by date and language; study selection by one reviewer only, and; data abstraction and quality appraisal conducted by one reviewer and one verifier) was ranked the most feasible (72%, 81/113 responses), with the lowest perceived risk of bias (12%, 12/103); it also ranked 2nd in timeliness (37%, 38/102) and 5th in comprehensiveness (5%, 5/100). Rapid reviews have many names and approaches and some methods might be more desirable than others. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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    • "The gold standard for the most effective and efficient rapid review methodology has not yet been established (Ganann et al., 2010; Harker and Kleijnen, 2012), nor has consensus on the definition of a rapid review been reached (Khangura et al., 2012). However, the literature has highlighted the importance of transparency to enable replication and the reporting of the assessed risk of bias of included studies over extensive searching as methods of ensuring rigour within rapid reviews (Watt et al., 2008; Ganann et al., 2010). Rapid reviews are not intended to replace full systematic reviews and often sacrifice important elements of systematic reviews, such as comprehensive searching with no language restrictions and indepth meta-analysis of results, because of restricted timelines. "

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    • "REA is a shortened version of full systematic review, originally developed as a rapid but rigorous means of evaluating the best available evidence for policy-making (GSR, 2013; Khangura et al., 2012). The REA approach is considered most viable for research questions which are constrained or focussed and well-aligned with existing research, and for subject areas where methods for the evaluation and synthesis of reviewed evidence have already been established (Thomas, 2013; Thomas, Newman & Oliver, 2013; Watt et al., 2008). In comparison to full systematic reviews REAs involve less developed search strings, less comprehensive searching, simpler extraction of data and simpler quality appraisal. "

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