Living systematic reviews are a relatively new approach to keeping the evidence in systematic reviews current by frequent surveillance and updating. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Evidence-based Practice Center Program recently commissioned a systematic review of plant-based treatments for chronic pain management. This white paper describes the team’s experience in implementing the protocol that was developed a priori, and reflects on the challenges faced and lessons learned in the process of developing and maintaining a living systematic review. Challenges related to scoping, conducting searches, selecting studies, abstracting data, assessing risk of bias, conducting meta-analysis, performing narrative synthesis, assessing strength of evidence, and generating conclusions are described, as well as potential approaches to addressing these challenges.
McDonagh MS, Chou R, Wagner J, Ahmed AY, Morasco BJ, Iyer S, Kansagara D. Living Systematic Reviews: Practical Considerations for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence-based Practice Center Program. (Prepared by the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 75Q80120D00006.) AHRQ Publication No. 22-EHC018. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.23970/AHRQEPCWHITEPAPERLSR. Posted final reports are located on the Effective Health Care Program search page.