Living Systematic Reviews

Session Date: 
Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 13:00 to 16:00
Workshop PM-8
Intermediate. Will be of particular interest to HTA producers, systematic review authors, and coordinators.

  • Sathya Karunananthan, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  • Katrina Sullivan, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

In areas of research where evidence grows rapidly, using traditional systematic review methodology to synthesize the evidence is neither sustainable nor appropriate, as reviews are in danger of being out of date by the time they are published. Living systematic reviews (LSRs), defined as systematic reviews that are continually updated to incorporate relevant new information as it becomes available, have been proposed as a solution to ensure the rigorous, timely evaluation of evidence. In this workshop, we provide an introduction to review methods for LSRs, present some implications for review production and processes, and discuss what needs to be considered when undertaking a living review. We will draw on our experience with transitioning a large-scale systematic review of diabetes quality-improvement interventions into an LSR. We will review decisions that were made to ensure the successful transition of our systematic review into an LSR. We will reflect on the expert opinions we received that informed our final decisions and will integrate this knowledge with our own experiences. Methods to facilitate and streamline the process will be discussed, with a particular focus on the capabilities of automation and machine learning. We will provide our final recommendations and thoughts, including suggestions on how other research teams might conceptualize the transition of their own systematic review into an LSR. By detailing our decisions and experiences, we hope to contribute to the discussion of the methodology for this novel, emerging field. Furthermore, we hope to provide researchers with the tools they require to make informed decisions for their own LSR.

Educational Objective: Participants will gain a practical understanding of review methods for living systematic reviews (LSRs): when an LSR is appropriate, the implications for review production and processes, and what needs to be considered when undertaking a living review.