DOI: 10.1111/hir.12523 ISSN: 1471-1834

Facilitating knowledge transfer to policy makers and front‐line workers during a pandemic: Implementation, impact and lessons learned

Nicola Pearce‐Smith, Emma Farrow, James Robinson, Blathnaid Mahon, Cat McGillycuddy, Kester Savage
  • Health Information Management
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Health Informatics



Stakeholders working on the COVID‐19 pandemic response needed access to evidence, requiring a systematic approach to identify and disseminate relevant research.


Outline the stages of development of a COVID‐19 Literature Digest; demonstrate the impact the Digest had on decision‐making and knowledge gain; identify the lessons learned.


A standardised process was developed to identify and select papers. The main sources for content were PubMed, bioRxiv and medRxiv. A shared EndNote library was used to deduplicate and organise papers. Three user surveys obtained feedback from subscribers to determine if the Digest remained valuable, and explore the benefits to individuals.


40–60 papers were summarised each week. 211 Digests were produced from March 2020 to March 2022, with around 10,000 papers included altogether. Survey results suggest benefits of the Digest were gaining new knowledge, saving time and contributing to evidence‐based decision making.


Digest procedures constantly evolved and were adapted in response to survey feedback. Lessons identified: learn from failure, communication is key, measure your impact, work collaboratively, reflect and be flexible.


The Digest was successfully produced within the limits of available resource. The learning from this Digest will inform evidence monitoring, selection and dissemination for future health crises.

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