Table 2

Other consideration when involving knowledge users (KUs) in rapid reviews (RRs)

Other considerations when involving knowledge users in rapid reviews (RRs)
Prepare for collaboration
  • At the outset, RR teams need to identify the necessary resources for involving KUs (eg, appropriate funds, human resources and staffing, access to training and equipment).42

  • Knowing effective communication strategies is key to ensuring a cohesive team environment, as is having the background knowledge to facilitate meaningful involvement.

  • RR team members may need training on KU engagement frameworks, specific methods and mechanisms to include a range of KUs within a RR. In addition, equity training is encouraged to ensure that the team respects the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion.

  • When starting a RR, consideration should be given to starting the process with a self-reflective exercise to ensure the research is undertaken with an equity, diversity and inclusion lens.44 Also available is methodological guidance for considering equity for RR stakeholder engagement and for the review process.45

Develop an engagement plan
  • A detailed engagement plan is the foundation of your collaboration with KUs especially if working within tight timelines.46

  • A description of KU roles can serve as the basis for discussion with your KUs, ensuring that they align with their expectations and skills and planned level of involvement.

  • The plan should also consider training needs, logistics such as communication, reimbursement for expenses and compensation.42

  • Acknowledgement of KUs (eg, as coauthors, mentioned in acknowledgements) and their own preferences as to whether they wish to be acknowledged should be in the plan.

  • The plan should provide information on the policies and procedures in place, including a compensation policy, to show recognition and appreciation of patient and public partner contributions.47

Required resources and knowledge user training
  • KUs may require training to participate meaningfully in the review process. An onboarding session with KU partners is an excellent opportunity to provide basic training on RRs and ascertain if more is needed.

  • If KUs would like to learn more about RR methodology or wish to be involved in methodological tasks such as data extraction, the research team must discuss if they can do so within the team, or if they can fund external training.

  • KUs, especially patient/public partners, may require resources such as a computer, access to the Internet and screening software, and possibly training to use these resources to participate in the RR process.

  • Training should be tailored to the needs of the individual KUs involved and will depend on the engagement plan.

Highlight the patient and public perspectives
  • ● RR teams should consider including a separate section devoted to the ‘patient and public perspectives of the evidence’ as part of the RR report or executive summary.

  • ● Patient/public partners can advise on how research might impact one’s health beyond an academic or policy or decision-making audience and is a means of getting the patient/public voices closer to that of health policy decision-makers.

Reporting knowledge user involvement
  • Authors of RRs should describe all KU involvement in the Methods section of the RR publication.

  • Consider using the GRIPP2 reporting checklist, which provides international guidance for reporting patient and public involvement (PPI) in health and social care.48 This tool aims to improve the quality, consistency and transparency, helping to ensure the PPI in practice is based on the best evidence to improve reporting.

Anticipate barriers
  • Some KUs may experience challenges surrounding digital literacy, accessibility issues (eg, access to research materials in an accessible format) and transportation costs.

  • Efforts should also be made to mitigate potential power imbalances that are inherent when KUs collaborate with researchers such as a ‘leave your title at the door’ policy and by encouraging activities that allow researchers and KUs to learn about each other outside of their roles on the team (eg, shared interests, experiences).

  • The team needs to be open to the lived experiences of the KUs involved and KUs integrated as members of the team.44

  • Time to conduct a RR is also a potential barrier to meaningful KU involvement. As such, RR teams should consider developing KU partnerships before conducting RRs (eg, assist KUs to prioritise questions of urgency, recruit a roster of patient/public partners and provide training in advance).

  • Ensure that the condensed RR timelines are communicated in advance, allowing KUs to determine if the time commitment works for them. Involvement of KUs may need to be tailored to match individual KU capacity.

  • Existing evaluation tools can be adapted for use with RRs.38 49–51 For example, National Institute of Health Research guidance describes four tools (ie, impact log, the cube framework, Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework guidance and the Realist Evaluation).49

  • The Patient Engagement in Research Scale,51 and the Patient Engagement Evaluation tool50 can also be used, with the latter used to evaluate engagement in an SR.

  • Evaluating KU involvement, both from the perspectives of the KUs and those of the researchers, is essential in advancing KU involvement methods and could serve as an important indicator when assessing a RR’s broader outputs and impact.

  • *When involving KUs in RRs, it is important to establish a process to proactively monitor issues that may arise at the outset of the review and throughout with the flexibility to make any necessary adjustments to facilitate the completion of the RR in a timely manner.