HTAi 2018

I had the pleasure of presenting at the HTAi 2018 conference in Vancouver which ended yesterday. Here is a picture from the event, shared as (a) the unplanned colour co-ordination is impeccable and (b) people have commented I look like a game show host.

I talked about, you guessed it, rapid reviews. My emphasis was on the fact that, whatever the review type, you never get close to 100% of the available data and therefore you resort to sampling the data.

Systematic reviews try to get a sample of all the published literature (missing 30-50% of all trials that are unpublished and lot of other data on top of that), while RR typically have a smaller sample again (albeit similar).  I asked three simple questions:

  • What is a suitable sample? (using all published articles is convenient and arbitrary, nothing more)
  • What is good enough? (depends on context)
  • What delivers the most value?

And I bemoaned the fact that, even after 20+ years of EBM, we’re still not able to answer those questions!

But what I appreciated most was the response afterwards. Increasingly people seem to ‘get’ rapid reviews. Until recently rapid reviews were characterised as being ‘quick and dirty’; they now seem to be gaining respectability 🙂



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