Current methods for development of rapid reviews about diagnostic tests: An international survey

Ingrid Arevalo-Rodriguez*, Karen R. Steingart, Andrea C. Tricco, Barbara Nussbaumer-Streit, David Kaunelis, Pablo Alonso-Coello, Susan Baxter, Patrick M. Bossuyt, José Ignacio Emparanza, Javier Zamora

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Rapid reviews (RRs) have emerged as an efficient alternative to time-consuming systematic reviews - they can help meet the demand for accelerated evidence synthesis to inform decision-making in healthcare. The synthesis of diagnostic evidence has important methodological challenges. Here, we performed an international survey to identify the current practice of producing RRs for diagnostic tests. Methods: We developed and administered an online survey inviting institutions that perform RRs of diagnostic tests from all over the world. Results: All participants (N = 25) reported the implementation of one or more methods to define the scope of the RR; however, only one strategy (defining a structured question) was used by ≥90% of participants. All participants used at least one methodological shortcut including the use of a previous review as a starting point (92%) and the use of limits on the search (96%). Parallelization and automation of review tasks were not extensively used (48 and 20%, respectively). Conclusion: Our survey indicates a greater use of shortcuts and limits for conducting diagnostic test RRs versus the results of a recent scoping review analyzing published RRs. Several shortcuts are used without knowing how their implementation affects the results of the evidence synthesis in the setting of diagnostic test reviews. Thus, a structured evaluation of the challenges and implications of the adoption of these RR methods is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115
JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ingrid Arevalo-Rodriguez is funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III through the “Acción Estrategica en Salud 2013-2016 / Contratos Sara Borrell convocatoria 2017/CD17/00219” (Co-funded by European Social Fund 2014-2020, “Investing in your future”). Andrea C. Tricco is funded by a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Synthesis. Pablo Alonso-Coello is supported by a Miguel Servet investigator contract from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (CPII15/0034).

Funding Information:
This study is funded by the Fundación para la Investigación Biomédica (FIBIO)-Hospital Universitario Ramon y Cajal (Internal grant IMP 18–05/2018). The funder did not have a role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, interpretation of data, or in writing the final manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Decision-making
  • Diagnosis
  • Knowledge synthesis
  • Rapid reviews
  • Tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Informatics


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