An international consortium of scientists and researchers, led by McMaster University researcher Holger Schünemann, has developed a digital platform-based COVID-19 Recommendations Map (RecMap) to help address the impact that COVID-19 continues to have on the global population and health-care systems around the world.

The RecMap is a one-stop shop for clinical, public health and health policy COVID-19 recommendations developed by any organization globally, covering screening, diagnosis, management, or prevention.

It is a “living map”, in the sense that it is regularly being updated with new and emerging guidelines. It is an advanced and robust tool to combat with misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19.

“The RecMap is an innovative and transparent approach to make healthcare recommendations easily accessible, as proven in a randomized trial to be superior to standard ways of presenting recommendations in guidelines,” said Schünemann.

The RecMap provides decision-makers, including policymakers, healthcare practitioners, researchers, and the general public, anywhere in the world with a comprehensive catalogue of critically appraised evidence. Using the critical appraisal tool, AGREE II, the RecMap team scores each guideline based on 23 different topics which covers the scope, stakeholder involvement, methodological rigour, presentation, applicability, and editorial independence.

“During a global pandemic, it is critical that we make recommendations from high-quality guidelines accessible and readily available,” said Tamara Lotfi, who is co-leading the project with Schünemann at Cochrane Canada and the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases, Research Methods and Recommendations.

Lotfi, who plays a central role in the ongoing development of the map, added that the RecMap allows users to fully contextualize their search queries, enabling them to make timely and informed decisions at a local, national, or international level.

“They simply need to define the population (P) and intervention (I) of interest to explore the recommendations that best fit their needs. They can even access the underlying evidence for the P and I of interest.”

All contextualized recommendations are searchable and shareable, accelerating the availability of evidence to support and advance implementation and research efforts around the world, including low- and middle-income countries.

The global RecMap team is comprised of 177 researchers from over 40 organizations and groups who extract, code, and post recommendations to the Map, including language translators who collectively participate from 19 countries. It includes over 7600 recommendations that have been extracted from 557 guidelines.

The RecMap is available here.

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