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A taxonomy of decisions related to COVID-19 can be used to:

  • curate existing evidence syntheses, technology assessments, and guidelines
  • inform the prioritization of the questions that need to be answered as issues emerge
  • inform the prioritization of evidence syntheses, technology assessments and guidelines that should be kept up to date for the foreseeable future
  • inform the prioritization of evidence syntheses, technology assessments and guidelines that are likely to be needed at some point in future phases of the pandemic and pandemic response.

The taxonomy is a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive list of types of decisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and response (which can be used as the row headers for the curated inventory described above) and is organized by:

  • public-health measures (infection prevention and control as well as broader measures)
  • clinical management of COVID-19 and related health issues (e.g., unmanaged chronic conditions, mental health issues, and family violence)
  • health-system arrangements (e.g., how to re-start ambulatory clinics, cancer treatments, and elective procedures, how to maintain and build on the gains achieved with virtual care)
  • economic and social responses (e.g., education, financial protection, food safety and security, housing, recreation, and transportation).

The taxonomy (which effectively focuses on interventions, exposures or phenomena of interest) can be complemented by taxonomies of:

  • populations as defined by
    • sector (e.g., those receiving home and community care and those in long-term care homes)
    • condition (e.g., those with high-risk conditions such as frailty or AIDS, those with particular categories of conditions (e.g., mental health or addictions issues), those with severe conditions, and those living with disabilities)
    • treatments (e.g., those receiving critical treatments such as cancer therapy)
    • population characteristics (e.g., elderly, Indigenous peoples, refugees, at-risk children and women, those living in rural and remote communities, those who are homeless or underhoused, those living in shelters and other congregate living environments, and those in low- and middle-income countries)
  • outcomes of interest (e.g., care experiences, health outcomes, costs, provider experiences for health-focused questions, and more specifically core outcomes developed through robust processes, such as this one; economic and social measures for other types of questions).

The taxonomy can also be complemented by a taxonomy of types of information that would be helpful to inform these decisions (and used as the column headers for the curated inventory described above), including:

  • evidence syntheses that address:
    • what can be done (and with what likely benefits, harms, costs, acceptability and feasibility)?
    • how can it be implemented in different types of organizations, different parts of the country or region, etc.
  • jurisdictional scans that address:
    • what are other countries (or other parts of a single country) doing?
    • what are organizations within the country already doing?
  • promising innovations inventories that address
    • what innovations are being proposed or piloted (as documented in the research literature and/or jurisdictional scans)?
    • what innovations are being proposed by organizations within the country?
Learn more about our approach to developing the taxonomy of decisions related to COVID-19.
Search our guide to key
COVID-19 evidence sources