Dr. Andrea Tricco et al. (2015) provide the following definition for rapid reviews: "a form of knowledge synthesis in which components of the systematic review process are simplified or omitted to produce information in a timely manner" (p.1). Rapid reviews are especially popular among decision-makers in health care settings. Rapid reviews can be distinguished by their ability to be conducted within a limited timeframe.
Expediting finding an answer that will affect policy decisions or other pressing matters
Acquiring quality information that is normally produced in a systematic review but have neither the time or budget to complete a full systematic review
A key component to the rapid review process is transparent reporting of the stages of the review process which were restricted
Note that the timeline of a rapid review is not it's defining feature, it is rather how the review was tailored to the needs of the individual or organization that requests the review.
Provides decision-makers with an evidence-based answer in a shorter amount of time than conducting a systematic review, which may be necessary for time-sensitive situations, particularly for health decision-makers
The following resources provide an overview and guidance on conducting and reporting rapid reviews.
METHODS & GUIDANCE
A thorough guide on conducting rapid reviews from 2017, presented by Maureen Dobins.
This guide provides a variety of methods that can be used when conducting rapid reviews. Authors: World Health Organization, Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research
The guideline is currently under development.
Check out the supplementary resources page for additional information, including articles, on rapid reviews.
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