National Institute for Health Innovation builds platform to support rapid access to information during COVID-19 crisis
14 May 2020

UniServices’ National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) was recently awarded funding, in a contestable round, from The MAS Foundation to build a platform to support public health experts and researchers to provide rapid evidence reviews for decision makers. 

MAS Foundation

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic NIHI’s academic Director, Professor Chris Bullen, with a team of public health experts from the School of Population Health, set up a system of rapid evidence reviews to inform DHB and Ministry of Health policy makers.  Early on in the process it became evident that undertaking the reviews via email was far from optimal. Professor Bullen approached NIHI to build a secure platform where registered users could post questions or seek research driven information, reviewers could select which topics they would review and their output could be peer reviewed with ease and rapid turnaround.

"NIHI was ideally placed to undertake this work, with close links with University of Auckland academics, an agile IT team and core staff with the skillsets to project manage and edit platform content. The platform was built, tested and running within 5 days," said Professor Chris Bullen.

The outputs of these rapid reviews have helped inform DHB regional advice and decisions, and Ministry of Health advice to government.  NIHI has funding to continue managing the reviews for three months and are looking for other opportunities to use the platform.