Published: 31-05-2024 16:34 | Updated: 12-06-2024 09:46

New workshop on rapid response briefs in health crises

A group of people standing in a staircase
Participants in the workshop rapid response briefs for decision-making in health crises 29 May 2024 Photo: Åsa Svensson

How can we help decision-makers during health crises, by developing rapid and useful decision bases, built on research and proven experience? With this question in mind, the Centre for Health Crises gathered a group of curious participants in Aula Medica on Thursday 29 May for a full-day workshop on creating rapid response briefs for decision-making in health crises.

After Helena Nordenstedt, Associate Professor and Expert Coordinator in Health Systems Resilience at the Centre for Health Crises, who led the workshop, had welcomed everyone, the day began with the director of the Centre, professor Johan von Schreeb sharing his experiences of the need for knowledge bases when working in a health crisis. Maja Fjaestad, also an expert coordinator at the Centre and former state secretary, then told the group about what it is like as a decision-maker to receive knowledge-base documents and reports, what they are good for and how they can be used. Nina Viberg, researcher and project coordinator at the Department of Global Public Health and former desk officer at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, talked more about what it is like as a civil servant, to produce knowledge-bases and write policy briefs.

The Centre for Health Crises organised the workshop in collaboration with SBU - Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services, and KI’s University Library (KIB). In the morning, they lectured on rapid knowledge bases, the importance of formulating questions, literature searches with limited time, relevance review, rapid reviews and above all the pros and cons, perhaps sometimes even risks, of different approaches to quickly producing useful knowledge-bases. 

Presenting to a fictional decision-maker

After lunch, it was time for the participants to put the newly acquired knowledge into practice. Divided into groups based on expertise and professional background, they got a fictitious case and had to look for information and put together a rapid response brief. They then described how they went about solving the task, based on which SBU and KIB provided further feedback and advice. Last but not least, they presented their knowledge base documents to a fictitious decision-maker, who also asked the participants to give short, concise answers to a plethora of questions, in an effort to create as much realism in the exercise as possible. 

The workshop is part of the Centre for Health Crises' commitment to bringing together existing and build new expertise in health crises, as well as develop ways and means to make expertise and skills available. The aim of this initial workshop was to see how the concept of practicing approaches and formats for working in an evidence-based manner in health crises functioned. 

The concept will be developed further 

- “I myself have experience of working in health crises, such as the Ebola outbreak, and so I know what it's like when you need to gain knowledge quickly, but at the same time there is also limited knowledge. In those instances I felt that methods for systematic gathering of knowledge were lacking. That's why I find it extra motivating to work on developing this type of exercises and training,” says Helena Nordenstedt. 

The workshop on May 29 was the first of its kind and based on feedback from the participants, the Centre for Health Crises, spearheaded by Helena Nordenstedt, will continue to develop the concept. Upcoming workshops and exercises will be announced via the Centre’s website and newsletter

If you have questions about the concept or want to know more about the workshop, please contact Helena Nordenstedt via email.


Helena Nordenstedt Principal Researcher