Case study: COVID-19 Evidence Digest
What did we do?
One of the first tasks Health Technology Wales (HTW) undertook in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak was to create an ‘evidence digest.’ This is a list of evidence from trusted sources that we have collated in one place to help users save time.
The digest was first published on 27 March 2020 and is updated on a weekly basis to give users up-to-date information. The digest arranges organisations into categories based on their geographical focus and includes organisations from Wales, the UK, international and global, e.g. the World Health Organization.
It’s important to note that the evidence digest offers no comment on the quality of evidence, which is for users to determine for themselves.
Our information specialist, who produces the evidence digest, has collaborated with colleagues at local, national and international levels. This includes Velindre University NHS Trust Library, the Scottish Health Technologies Group (SHTG) and wider information science mailing lists.
The digest is aimed at anyone from health, social care and beyond who is researching or looking for evidence on COVID-19. We’ve shared it with key decision makers in Welsh Government, health and social care, as well as peer health technology assessment (HTA) organisations.
What were the reactions?
The digest received more than 600 webpage views in the first month that it was online. It’s also been included in the NHS Wales e-library for health and in the library section of the Velindre University NHS Trust’s daily update for staff.
What difference did this make?
Users are now able to locate sources of evidence on COVID-19 from one place, in a reliable and timely manner. This supports faster identification of evidence and evidence-informed decisions, also allowing resources to be used more effectively.
The evidence digest was used in a literature sift by our own researchers. This was part of the process that produced an evidence review of tests to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus or antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 to inform COVID-19 diagnosis.
We’ve updated the digest five times so far and streamlined the number of evidence sources, focusing more on websites that provide an overview of evidence, for example database hubs and websites that have evidence summaries. This will help users to save even more time when looking for evidence.