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Table 1 Summary of organizational features and possible approaches to operationalizing them (table from Wilson et al. 2014) [12]

From: Developing a rapid-response program for health system decision-makers in Canada: findings from an issue brief and stakeholder dialogue

Organizational feature Possible approaches to operationalizing each feature Criteria meta
Governance (structure, scope and rules) Administer the rapid-response program through the McMaster Health Forum under its existing governance structure that prioritizes strong links with and involvement of policymakers and stakeholders in the programs it delivers 1, 7
Operationalize this approach to governance by convening a rapid-response program steering committee consisting of federal, provincial and territorial health system decision-makers and stakeholders who can provide strategic guidance about administering the program 1, 9
Establish that the rapid-response program: 2
   addresses topics requested by health system decision-makers (requests will be submitted to the Forum through email and the questions will be refined by the Forum in collaboration with the requestor where necessary);
   ensures that the findings of the syntheses are based on the available research evidence and not the personal views of those who requested or developed it;
   identifies whether any potential conflicts of interest exist in any product produced through the rapid-response program; and
   disseminates completed syntheses (e.g. through the existing Forum Update newsletter and/or through a dedicated email list to the program partners) and makes them available through a dedicated repository on the Forum’s website (but without the requestor’s jurisdiction attached to the synthesis to provide some level of anonymity)
Management and staffing Allocate authority to the organizational leadership of the Forum for ensuring the accountability of the program in relation to its mandate 3
Use effective project management processes to make the best use of available resources and to sequence and prioritize tasks in a way that allows for all requests to be completed within specified timelines 6
Implement minimum training standards (e.g. completing an online training course about finding and using research evidence) and provide ongoing mentorship for staff contributing to the rapid-response program (this includes both those at the Forum and from partner networks or organizations) 4
Program resources Seek external (but not user-pay) and long-term funding (e.g. from a Partnerships for Health System Improvement grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) that will allow for both the delivery and ongoing evaluation of the program 5 (if successful)
Prioritize some requests over others in times when demand exceeds available resources, which could be accomplished through one or more of the following approaches: 6
   completing requests from those who have not recently accessed the program;
   requesting a resubmission at a later date for topics that are deemed less urgent (either by the requestors themselves, by the steering committee or both); and/or
   engaging the program steering committee to help decide which requests should be prioritized (e.g. through a voting or ranking process over email)  
Collaboration Engage trusted national, provincial and territorial partner networks or organizations (where possible and necessary) to 8
   identify whether a synthesis has already been completed on the topic (e.g. by establishing a listserv that can be used to efficiently contact all partners when a request is received) and
   collaborate with the Forum to conduct syntheses (or build on existing products identified) to ensure relevance to particular provincial and territorial contexts  
  1. aThe ordering of bullets in this column corresponds to the order in the adjacent column that lists possible approaches to operationalizing each feature.