Outcomes and Challenges from Rapid Review: HEARD partner’s panel session at the GEIS 2018
November 26, 2018
One of HEARD’s partners, the Universitas Indonesia (UI), presented their work on Generating Relevant and Timely Evidence through Rapid Reviews by Policy Makers at the 2018 Global Evidence and Implementation Summit (GEIS). Led by Dr. Asri Adisasmita from UI’s School of Public Health, the team held a panel session on this important topic. The co-speakers were Yulia Nur Izati, Trisari Anggondowati and Septyana Choirunnisa from UI, and Iram Barida from Indonesia’s Ministry of Health’s National Institute of Health Research and Development.
The team provided an overview of Rapid Review (RR) and why this evidence synthesis method has emerged as a useful tool to aid policymakers. In brief, RR provides actionable and relevant evidence in a timely and cost-effective manner, and thus compelling for policy makers who often need to align their decisions with budget timelines.
The team also shared the process and output of a one-week course on RR, followed by a series of workshops, over the course of 10 weeks, that followed to support the completion of the RR work. By the end of the course, groups of participants had produced five protocols; two of them aligning with HEARD’s focus area of implementation science, as well as review work up to evidence synthesis. The reviews address some of the implementation challenges in the use of Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4) treatment for the management of hypertensive disorder in pregnancy and use of antiretroviral (ARV) among HIV-infected pregnant women.
From the RR process, UI gained more understanding about how conducting RR with policy makers is feasible, albeit challenging. The main challenge is the limited amount of time that policymakers can dedicate to support the work. Thus, it is crucial to engage them at least in critical stages of the work, such as need assessment, topic refinement, and follow up of the results. Another challenge stems from the fact that evidence synthesis such as RR and Systematic Reviews are still regarded as ‘second-class’ research, as opposed to original research. Since many studies in Implementation Science use qualitative method or mixed-methods, it is important for reviewers to have adequate skills in the qualitative systematic review.
Attendees of the panel session provided valuable feedback. One attendee emphasized the importance of including qualitative research in rapid reviews to help provide depth to implementation science questions. Others brought up the issue of maintaining rigor in the review process through the assessment to avoid potential bias. The session was concluded with many attendees expressing their thanks and enthusiasm for future collaborations in RR work.