Policy-makers require valid evidence to support time-sensitive decisions regarding the coverage, quality, efficiency, and equity of health systems. Systematic reviews and other types of evidence syntheses are increasingly employed to inform policy-making and produce guidance for health systems. However, the time and cost to produce a systematic review is often a barrier to its use in decision-making. Rapid reviews are a timely and affordable approach that can provide actionable and relevant evidence to strengthen health policy and systems.
This Practical Guide explores different approaches and methods for expedited synthesis of health policy and systems research, and provide guidance on how to plan, conduct, and promote the use of rapid reviews, while highlighting key challenges including their application in low- and middle-income countries. Our proposed solutions will help provide policy-makers and health systems managers with strategic evidence to make crucial decisions about health systems’ response in emergency situations, as well as in routine decision-making.