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  • Shannon E. Kelly (a1) (a2), David Moher (a1) (a3) and Tammy J. Clifford (a1) (a4)

Objectives: Rapid reviews are characterized as an accelerated evidence synthesis approach with no universally accepted methodology or definition. This modified Delphi consensus study aimed to develop a comprehensive set of defining characteristics for rapid reviews that may be used as a functional definition.

Methods: Expert panelists with knowledge in rapid reviews and evidence synthesis were identified. In the first round, panelists were asked to answer a seventeen-item survey addressing a variety of rapid review topics. Results led to the development of statements describing the characteristics of rapid reviews that were circulated to experts for agreement in a second survey round and further revised in a third round. Consensus was reached if ≥70 percent of experts agreed and there was stability in free-text comments.

Results: A panel of sixty-six experts participated. Consensus was reached on ten of eleven statements describing the characteristics of rapid reviews. According to the panel, rapid reviews aim to meet the requirements and timelines of a decision maker and should be conducted in less time than a systematic review. They use a variety of approaches to accelerate the evidence synthesis process, tailor the methods conventionally used to carry out systematic reviews, and use the most rigorous methods that the delivery time frame will allow.

Conclusions: This study achieved consensus on ten statements describing the defining characteristics of rapid reviews based on the opinion of a panel of knowledgeable experts. Areas of disagreement were also highlighted. Findings emphasize the role of the decision maker and stress the importance of transparent reporting.

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International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
  • ISSN: 0266-4623
  • EISSN: 1471-6348
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