Tips for using the inventory

If you’re looking for the best available evidence syntheses for decisions about COVID-19:

  1. scroll through the table to find the decision for which you’re looking for research evidence on one of these four webpages:
    1. evidence about public-health measures (e.g., masks and tests)
    2. evidence about clinical management of COVID-19 (e.g., prescription drugs) and pandemic-related conditions (e.g., mental health and addictions issues)
    3. evidence about health-system arrangements (e.g., scaling hospital capacity up or down and virtual-care alternatives to in-person care)
    4. evidence about economic and social responses (e.g., school and public-transit changes)
  2. review any evidence syntheses available to inform the decision, focusing in particular on:
    1. date of last search for evidence (so you know how up-to-date the evidence is)
    2. quality rating for the synthesis (for a sense about how systematically and transparently the evidence synthesis was prepared)
    3. 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)
    4. 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)
    5. 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)
  3. 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’)
  4. 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.