Quick, but not dirty – Can rapid evidence reviews usefully inform policy?

What systematic reviews are NOT are literature reviews. They avoid cherry picking individual studies – consciously or not – that fit a preconceived idea or narrative. This attempt at comprehensiveness is important for policy: where research summaries on issues of national importance should avoid bias towards some studies and the exclusion of inconvenient research.
— Read on blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2022/04/27/quick-but-not-dirty-can-rapid-evidence-reviews-reliably-inform-policy/

COVID-19 living systematic map of the evidence

An important resource that’s being updated daily.

In response to the current crisis, we are maintaining an up-to-date map of the current evidence that we partition into broad domains for easy exploration. We are open to feedback on how we maintain and categorise this evidence base, so do get in touch if you have suggestions.
— Read on eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms/Projects/DepartmentofHealthandSocialCare/Publishedreviews/COVID-19Livingsystematicmapoftheevidence/tabid/3765/Default.aspx

Primary health care provider–focused interventions for improving outcomes for people with type 2 diabetes

In brief

The greatest opportunities to enhance diabetes care in the Australian primary health care setting seem to be:

  1. delivering culturally tailored programs involving community health workers (a strong interest of mine)
  2. incorporating diabetes decision support into practice software.

About the paper

Colleagues at the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity and I did a rapid review on what works to improve outcomes for people with Type 2 diabetes in primary health care , which is available now.

We identified (1) computerised decision support, (2) feedback and benchmarking on diabetes care quality, (3) culturally tailored programs (usually delivered by community health workers), and (4) enhanced practice nurse involvement in diabetes care as interventions that had a positive impact across several outcome measures. These outcomes included:

  • clinical outcomes (blood pressure, and body mass index, or weight)
  • biochemical outcomes (glycosylated haemoglobin [HbA1c], lipid profile, or renal function)
  • psychological outcomes (anxiety, depression, diabetes-related distress, perceived seriousness and vulnerability, self-efficacy, or self-care)
  • health-related quality of life measures from participant self-report.

The evidence about the use of decision aids (e.g. when to commence statins) was equivocal in terms of their impact on HbA1c, lipid profile and renal function. One high quality integrated care study on a virtual clinic, which brought together nurses, diabetologists and GPs, showed improvements in blood pressure but not renal function. No single intervention improved all the outcome measures that were considered.


Faruqi, N. et al. (2019) ‘Primary health care provider–focused interventions for improving outcomes for people with type 2 diabetes: a rapid review’, Public Health Research and Practice, 29(4), p. e29121903. Available at: https://doi.org/10.17061/phrp29121903.