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Top Ranked U.S. Teaching Hospital Delivers Effective Systematic Review Management

The Problem

When this large, nationally-ranked teaching hospital made the decision to implement a formal systematic review support model, they faced some unique challenges. First, hospital libraries differ from academic libraries in that they typically have smaller teams to handle complex research requests. With less capacity, library leaders were seeking a solution that could speed up the process of creating and tracking systematic review projects. Second, while clinical staff had often heard of systematic reviews and wanted to publish them, it was often their first time embarking on the complicated methodology used to accomplish this kind of evidence synthesis. They require not only an overview of the process, but also project management expertise. Library staff was called upon to provide time-intensive guidance in formulating research questions, searching the literature, downloading the results, removing duplicates and managing large spreadsheets of project data. Third, the fact that physicians and nursing staff conduct research around the immediate and urgent needs of patient care can make it particularly difficult to keep projects on track and moving forward.

Key Takeaways

A cloud-based collaboration solution improves the efficiency and level of service that smaller hospital library teams can deliver to patrons

An intuitive, easy-to-navigate user interface encourages successful completion of higher quality evidence projects across multiple clinical disciplines

Interactive usage dashboards provide oversight into review project progress and allow library staff to gauge progress of individual reviews

The Solution

An institutional subscription to Covidence has improved the systematic review management process in a number of important ways. Because clinical staff, including residents, often have little or no familiarity with systematic reviews, the intuitive Covidence user interface and product design make it easy to pick up without dedicated training.

Core Benefits

  • Helps busy clinical teams keep projects on track
  • Used across multiple clinical disciplines
  • Easily accessible at all levels of experience
  • Provides visibility into review progress

In addition to being easy-to-use, library administrators and research coordinators utilize Covidence’s usage data to keep track of systematic review stages and how projects are progressing. A real-time enterprise dashboard allows them to check in with busy clinicians and nurses and provide gentle nudges to move stalled projects forward, thereby prompting these teams to maintain momentum on longer-term systematic review initiatives.

By automating previously manual tasks associated with screening and analyzing large volumes of research literature, the quality of reviews has improved due to a reduction in human error. And because the platform drives collaboration between researchers in a streamlined and systematic way, research is being completed faster as well.

As a top-ranked teaching hospital, the organization has traditionally encouraged its physicians to conduct and publish evidence-based research. Lately though, library leadership has been seeing this organizational emphasis extend outward to clinical healthcare professionals outside of the physician cohort.

For example, there is now a push for non-physician clinical staff, including nurse practitioners, to embark on evidence-based research. As a result, more and more nursing staff are using Covidence to conduct integrative reviews. Though they differ in some ways from true systematic reviews, the approach and workflow for integrative reviews are very similar, and Covidence includes the features to conduct these assessments successfully.

We subscribed to Covidence with just systematic reviews in mind, but have noticed strong interest from non- physician disciplines (like nursing), where it’s really useful for similar types of rigorous evidence synthesis.

Health Research Librarian

Support staff in the library are now able to advise patrons that Covidence is very useful for additional types of evidence syntheses like integrative reviews and scoping reviews. It’s a solution that has broad application across all departments, is easy to master for users of all experience levels, and provides value quickly to the researchers using it as well as the institution that provides and supports it.

Case Study Covidence Figure 1
Fig 1. Number of Systematic Reviews

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