Development of a web based software tool to improve the efficiency and user experience of systematic reviews

Abstract text
Background:
High quality systematic reviews are time and resource intensive limiting the number of reviews that can be produced and the feasibility of review updating as new evidence becomes available. Furthermore, the volume of new studies published in many topic areas leads to difficulties in maintaining systematic review currency, methodological rigour or both. Innovative solutions to support review authors in developing and updating systematic reviews are needed to make the process more efficient and improve review currency and quality.

Objectives:
To develop an online software prototype that improves the efficiency and user experience of systematic review processes.

Methods:
We engaged user experience (UX) designers and software developers to design and build an online software prototype using an ‘agile’ software development approach. The UX designers interviewed systematic review authors and methodologists to map systematic review processes and identify areas where technology-based tools could automate or expedite review update processes. Working in iterative cycles, an initial prototype was built, and subsequently revised in response to UX and user interface testing.


Results:
The designers identified several phases of the systematic review process where efficiency and user experience could be improved by the application of technology. These included automating database searching and full text retrieval; providing a platform to enable online collaboration in citation and fulltext screening; coordinating processes for study annotation, data extraction and risk of bias assessment and managing workflows. On the basis of these findings we developed a web-based software prototype. Preliminary evaluations have shown substantial improvements in the efficiency and user experience of systematic review processes.

Conclusions:
Web based technologies for the development and updating of systematic reviews have the potential to automate work processes and reduce workload. Such tools could be used to develop living reviews using online author communities to continually update reviews as new evidence becomes available.
Authors
Clavisi O1, Turner T2, Thomas J3, Cavedon L4, Zobel J5, Harrison T6, Deeble M7, Pitt V1, Gruen R1, Elliott J8
1 National Trauma Research Institute, Monash University, Australia
2 Australasian Cochrane Centre, Monash University, Australia
3 Institute of Education, University of London, United Kingdom
4 NICTA Victoria Research Laboratory, The University of Melbourne, Australia
5 Department of Computing and Information Systems, the University of Melbourne, Australia
6 South London Health Innovation & Education Cluster, St Georges University of London, United Kingdom
7 Sar from Feock Pty Ltd, Australia
8 Infectious Diseases Unit, Alfred Hospital, Monash University, Australia
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Ornella Clavisi
Contact person Affiliation Country
Ornella Clavisi (Contact this person) National Trauma Research Institute, Monash University Australia
Date and Location
Session: 
Oral session A2O3
Date: 
Monday 1 October 2012 - 11:40 - 12:00
Location: