A rapid review process for Evidence Aid (to produce a Cochrane systematic review): Electric fans for reducing adverse health impacts in heatwaves

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Abstract text
Background:
This rapid Cochrane review (seven months from inception to publication of review) was undertaken to determine whether the use of electric fans has a harmful or protective effect on the general population in naturally occurring heatwaves. It was done rapidly with the aim to inform the 2012 Heat Wave Plan for England.

Objectives:
To complete a rapid review for Evidence Aid by an international review team (members from three continents). None of the authors were working on this review full time; all had full time busy day jobs.

Methods:
For this review, the initial approach was made to the Cochrane Public Health Group in late Sep 2011, Registration of Title with Gynaecological Cancer Group was done in Dec 2012 and the review completed and (very likely to be) in press by mid-May 2012). From inception to completion, it took only seven months, as compared to 18- 24 months for a routine review. The Gynaecological Cancer Group took editorial responsibility and supported the review’s rapid production and publication. The protocol was published in Issue 5, 2012 of The Cochrane Library.

For the search, an extensive search strategy was undertaken on a number of English, Indian and Chinese databases and websites of relevance. The search strategy was independently reviewed Contact was also made with experts in the field for any unpublished work. Retrieved articles were all hand searched for further references. Two reviewers assessed articles for eligibility.

Results:
More than 4500 records were identified with the retrieval of more than 100 full text articles. None of these met the eligibility criteria for the review.

Conclusions:
This process shows that rapid reviewing for Cochrane Reviews is possible with limited resources, and can be used as a model to promote a rapid turnaround of Cochrane reviews on issues of international importance.
Authors
Allen C1, Gupta S2, Murray V2, Clarke M3, Carmichael C2, Simpson C4, Chan EYY5, Gao Y5
1 Evidence Aid, UK
2 Health Protection Agency, UK
3 Queens University, Northern Ireland, UK
4 Health Canada, Canada
5 CERT-CUHK-Oxford University Centre for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Claire Allen
Contact person Affiliation Country
Claire Allen (Contact this person) Cochrane Operations Unit and Evidence Aid United Kingdom