Tips for using the inventory
If you’re looking for the best available evidence syntheses for decisions about COVID-19:
- scroll through the table to find the decision for which you’re looking for research evidence on one of these four webpages:
- evidence about public-health measures (e.g., masks and tests)
- evidence about clinical management of COVID-19 (e.g., prescription drugs) and pandemic-related conditions (e.g., mental health and addictions issues)
- evidence about health-system arrangements (e.g., scaling hospital capacity up or down and virtual-care alternatives to in-person care)
- evidence about economic and social responses (e.g., school and public-transit changes)
- review any evidence syntheses available to inform the decision, focusing in particular on:
- date of last search for evidence (so you know how up-to-date the evidence is)
- quality rating for the synthesis (for a sense about how systematically and transparently the evidence synthesis was prepared)
- availability of an evidence (e.g., GRADE) profile (so you’ll know whether you can look for a transparent presentation of the certainty of the evidence in the synthesis)
- the hyperlinked ‘declarative title’ that provides decision-relevant details like the interventions or exposures examined and the certainty of available evidence (so you can assess its relevance to the decision you’re facing)
- whether the evidence synthesis is a ‘living’ synthesis (so you know you can return to the row in the evidence inventory for updated evidence if the same issue returns to the decision agenda)
- if you can find a relevant evidence synthesis, use the available information in the row to describe the synthesis (e.g., you can say ‘through the COVID-END inventory, which includes all available evidence syntheses relevant to COVID-19 decisions, I found a recently updated, high-quality evidence synthesis that presents the certainty of the evidence available to inform this decision’) and its findings (e.g., you can use or elaborate on the ‘declarative title’)
- if you cannot find a relevant evidence synthesis, reassure decision-makers that there is little chance that an evidence synthesis exists that meets minimal quality standards (we only present evidence syntheses that have an AMSTAR score of 4 or higher).
COVID-END’s senior advisor, David Tovey, has prepared a complementary list of questions to consider when using the COVID-END inventory. It will be particularly helpful to decision-makers and those supporting them who may be unfamiliar with using evidence syntheses.