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Methods for Living Guidelines: Early Guidance Based on Practical Experience. Paper 4: Search methods and approaches for living guidelines

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      Abstract

      Objective

      To describe the key features of a continual evidence surveillance process that can be implemented for living guidelines and to outline the considerations and trade-offs in adopting different approaches.

      Study Design and Setting

      Members of the Australian Living Evidence Consortium (ALEC), National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the US GRADE Network shared their practical experiences of and approaches to establishing surveillance systems for living guidelines. We identified several common components of evidence surveillance and listed the key features and considerations for each component drawn from case studies, highlighting differences with standard guidelines.

      Results

      We developed guidance that covers the initial information needed to support decisions around suitability for living mode, and the practical considerations in setting up continual search surveillance systems (search frequency, sources to search, use of automation, reporting the search, ongoing resources, and evaluation). The case studies draw on our experiences with developing guidelines for COVID-19, as well as other conditions such as stroke and diabetes, and cover a range of practical approaches, including the use of automation.

      Conclusion

      This paper highlights different approaches to continual evidence surveillance that can be implemented in living guidelines.

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