Background:

Rapid reviews are of increasing importance within health technology assessment (HTA) due to the need for timely evidence to underpin the assessment of new technologies. Financial constraints within HTA have also contributed to the increase in rapid reviews. There are many rapid review methods available (1) although there is little guidance as to the most suitable methods (2). Rapid review methods need to be chosen to fit the needs of the review, each of which may have different challenges. Collaboration between those producing rapid reviews and commissioners/policy-makers is crucial when choosing methods to ensure that the needs of commissioners/policy-makers are met and limitations associated with the chosen methods are understood. A recent paper outlines issues to consider when selecting rapid review methods (3). Four important aspects to consider when selecting rapid review methods include: interaction with commissioners/policy-makers, scoping and searching the evidence base, data extraction and synthesis methods and reporting of rapid review methods. Preliminary work in ScHARR has resulted in the development of a decision tool for reviewers to use to select the most appropriate rapid review approaches for HTA. The aim of the decision tool is to outline broad high-level options for the overall rapid review process rather than outlining detailed methods. The decision tool is being used locally within ScHARR and internationally (4) and informal feedback has suggested that it is very useful and has the potential to benefit all those working in systematic reviewing. Based on feedback the decision tool has been updated and is attached as Appendix 1.