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Assessing how information is packaged in rapid reviews for policy-makers and other stakeholders: a cross-sectional study

  • Garritty, Chantelle1, 2
  • Hamel, Candyce1, 2
  • Hersi, Mona1
  • Butler, Claire1
  • Monfaredi, Zarah1
  • Stevens, Adrienne1
  • Nussbaumer-Streit, Barbara3
  • Cheng, Wei1
  • Moher, David1, 4
  • 1 Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, The Ottawa Hospital, General Campus, CPCR Building, 501 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8L6, Canada , Ottawa (Canada)
  • 2 University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia , Split (Croatia)
  • 3 Danube University Krems, Krems a.d. Donau, Austria , Krems a.d. Donau (Austria)
  • 4 School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada , Ottawa (Canada)
Published Article
Health Research Policy and Systems
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Sep 29, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12961-020-00624-7
Springer Nature


BackgroundRapid reviews (RRs) are useful products to healthcare policy-makers and other stakeholders, who require timely evidence. Therefore, it is important to assess how well RRs convey useful information in a format that is easy to understand so that decision-makers can make best use of evidence to inform policy and practice.MethodsWe assessed a diverse sample of 103 RRs against the BRIDGE criteria, originally developed for communicating clearly to support healthcare policy-making. We modified the criteria to increase assessability and to align with RRs. We identified RRs from key database searches and through searching organisations known to produce RRs. We assessed each RR on 26 factors (e.g. organisation of information, lay language use). Results were descriptively analysed. Further, we explored differences between RRs published in journals and those published elsewhere.ResultsCertain criteria were well covered across the RRs (e.g. all aimed to synthesise research evidence and all provided references of included studies). Further, most RRs provided detail on the problem or issue (96%; n = 99) and described methods to conduct the RR (91%; n = 94), while several addressed political or health systems contexts (61%; n = 63). Many RRs targeted policy-makers and key stakeholders as the intended audience (66%; n = 68), yet only 32% (n = 33) involved their tacit knowledge, while fewer (27%; n = 28) directly involved them reviewing the content of the RR. Only six RRs involved patient partners in the process. Only 23% (n = 24) of RRs were prepared in a format considered to make information easy to absorb (i.e. graded entry) and 25% (n = 26) provided specific key messages. Readability assessment indicated that the text of key RR sections would be hard to understand for an average reader (i.e. would require post-secondary education) and would take 42 (± 36) minutes to read.ConclusionsOverall, conformity of the RRs with the modified BRIDGE criteria was modest. By assessing RRs against these criteria, we now understand possible ways in which they could be improved to better meet the information needs of healthcare decision-makers and their potential for innovation as an information-packaging mechanism. The utility and validity of these items should be further explored.Protocol availabilityThe protocol, published on the Open Science Framework, is available at:

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