Background: the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) programme produces rigorous and comprehensive systematic reviews on a variety of clinical, quality improvement, and health services topics. Traditionally, the products of systematic reviews are flat file documents.
Objectives: to develop engaging and interactive formats for systematic reviews, including customizable summaries, tailored outputs, and drill-downs to meet the needs of a broad range of audiences.
Methods: we created visualizations of systematic review results using both the licensed Tableau software and open-source D3 software.
Results: increased use of graphic representation of data produced interactive and layered visualizations of quantitative and qualitative data. Tableau and open-source software allow for interactive displays of meta-analyses allowing drill-downs to individual study details, while short narratives and pictures draw general interest from a broad audience. Customizable short summaries can also be generated by the site, allowing viewers to create documents that are tailored to their organizational needs. This modular and interactive format also lends itself to easier updating. All of this is designed with systematic reviewers in mind, where pre-structured templates are being developed to streamline processes.
Conclusions: interactive, web-based format reviews hold great promise for increasing the use of evidence in practice while also streamlining systematic review processes.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: clinicians, health systems executives, policymakers, patients, and other medical decision makers have advocated for customizable summaries and presentations of data. The customizable level of detail makes the evidence more accessible to patients.