Living Evidence project will train European organisations to incorporate L·OVE Platform in evidence synthesis process

This week was the official launch of ‘Living Evidence’, an international project where Epistemonikos Foundation holds a key role. The project aims to train different European organisations that work on evidence synthesis to support health decision-making, in using tools and methodologies that will allow them to keep those reviews always updated.


The initiative includes the use of L·OVE Platform, Epistemonikos’ technology, as well as different methodologies and other innovations developed by the Foundation. These tools and expertise will be used to create a methodological framework, to be incorporated into the evidence synthesis processes. This will also optimize the elaboration of instruments that contribute to decision-making, such as clinical guidelines, providing rigorous, always updated evidence.


The ‘Living Evidence’ concept was coined a few years ago, and it refers to the challenge of incorporating evidence into synthesis processes, as it is being produced. Epistemonikos’ Chairman and member of this project as co-researcher, Dr Gabriel Rada, explains that “the evidence synthesis process using living methods allows decisions in health to be informed with the best evidence available. This is even more relevant now,  in the context of an evidence production that more grows every day. The Living Evidence project is born right when the need to keep evidence updated to face today’s sanitary challenges, has become very clear”.


The research team includes renowned specialists from Epistemonikos Foundation, Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre, the l’Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica Sant Pau and the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. This team will be as well advised by a group of international experts, with outstanding careers in scientific research.


Among the organisations that will have some members trained in the project, we can find Vall d’Hebron Hospital, the Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, the Sant Pau Hospital, the Agència de Qualitat i Avaluació Sanitàries de Catalunya, the Servicio Navarro de Salud y and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) of the United Kingdom.


Dr María Ximena Rojas, from the Institut d’Recerca-Servei d’Epidemiologia Clínica i Salut Pública of Barcelona, leading the project, claims that “one of the biggest challenges that organisations face today is the integration of processes to produce and maintain living evidence in the instruments used to inform decisions in health where evidence evolves constantly”.


‘Living Evidence to Inform Health Decisions, she continues, “is a project that aims to tackle this situation by the development and evaluation of an innovative strategy” with which they will produce living evidence synthesis to incorporate in instruments such as clinical guidelines, sanitary technology assessments reports and structured evidence summaries for health policies.

Dr Camila Ávila, Chief Research Methods Officer in Epistemonikos and lead of the project in the Epistemonikos side, values that “In addition to allowing us to support hundreds of researchers around the world, this initiative will also give us the chance to show our tools to a much wider audience, that we are sure will benefit greatly from the efficiency of our platforms and methods.

Study about duplication in evidence production is selected for the James Lind Library as a historical record

A few weeks ago, the prestigious JAMA Network Journal published an observational comparative study of systematic reviews that revealed the enormous overproduction of evidence on COVID-19, as well as the duplicity of subjects in research and the great problem that this has brought when trying to ensure exhaustivity in evidence synthesis, using traditional synthesis methods.


The study, elaborated by members of the Epistemonikos Foundation team, along with renowned researchers Dr Giordano Pérez-Gaxiola and Dr Iván Flores, compared the great number of systematic reviews about imaging findings of COVID-19 in children. Due to its innovative methods and conclusive results, the study was recently selected by the James Lind Library as a historical record, part of fair testing history. The Library selects and gathers records and scientific articles in order to illustrate the development of fair tests of treatments in health care, giving special relevance to the efforts put on improving method accuracy in scientific research development.


“This means that the scientific community recognizes the issue that we have been coming to identify for a while now, and has been revealed with this pandemic, which is the inability of the traditional evidence synthesis methods to process the huge amounts of information that are being produced on the same subjects”, says Dr Francisca Verdugo, one of the authors and methodologist in Epistemonikos Foundation. Consequently, adds Dr Verdugo, “being considered for this registry is a great recognition of our proposal to face and solve this problem, through collaborative work, technological innovation and the possibility of creating ‘living evidence’ as an input for decision-making”.


Dr Verdugo refers to using the L·OVE Platform in this process, a technological development by Epistemonikos Foundation, which has proven to be one of the most efficient tools for the tasks of searching, gathering and screening the available scientific evidence for a given research question, exceeding the results of conventional methods of evidence synthesis. The combination of methodological innovation and tech development opens a beacon of hope when it comes to this issue, through what these authors have called ‘living evidence’, which is the heart of the efforts registered by the library in this recognition.


Dr Gabriel Rada, co-founder of Epistemonikos Foundation and also a collaborator in the study, is certain that “this pandemic will be surely remembered as one of the periods with the greatest research production about the same subject in history. The amount of evidence produced during the last year about COVID-19 is unprecedented for any scientific subject ever, and thus it requires high levels of innovation and development, that allow researchers to process efficiently this level of information. Thanks to our L·OVE Platform, we can, fortunately, make a useful contribution to this challenge, by providing an efficient and reliable tool that helps tackle important issues like the duplicity of efforts”.


Scientific article explains how Epistemonikos became the largest database of systematic reviews in health

Since it was launched in 2009, Epistemonikos Database has become the world’s largest repository of systematic reviews relevant for health decision-making. The details behind this achievement were recently published in BMC Medical Research Methodology, in an article explaining how this technological tool works and has evolved to become this worldwide used resource.

The article (that can be read here for free) explains the methods used to build the database and also the main results obtained until the time of submission in January 2020. At that moment, over 1.4 million registries had been screened in order to identify more than 300,000 systematic reviews that are now available in Epistemonikos Database.

The team behind this project is led by the evidence-based medicine expert Dr Gabriel Rada and the renowned software developer Daniel Pérez, co-founders of Epistemonikos Foundation. Many members of Epistemonikos Foundation are also co-authors of the scientific paper.

Epistemonikos Database was launched 10 years ago”, starts Dr Rada, “but the challenge imposed by the avalanche of information that emerged during the last decade demanded the development of different technologies and innovations to identify all of the systematic reviews”.

When it comes to how the database works, Dr Rada explains that “we set a first layer of artificial intelligence that analyses what is recovered from multiple sources of evidence worldwide. Then, this information is passed to a network of more than 1000 collaborators for validation”. This approach, follows Rada, “allows us to identify all the evidence and make it accessible to everyone in a single place, through an easy-to-use search engine”.

The systematic methods applied by Epistemonikos’ team, the use of cutting-edge technology, the continuous innovation in workflows, and the engagement of a vast number of collaborators have allowed Epistemonikos to provide a unique tool to support informed decisions that will contribute to improving people’s health.


Check the article here:

COVID-19 L·OVE: the largest open repository of evidence on this pandemic

Over 6000, selected from over 2 million, are the articles you can find in our COVID-19 L·OVE, the first of our ‘Premium’ evidence collections including all systematic reviews, as well as every primary study and all other kinds of articles related to this pandemic (included and not included in the reviews).


Our COVID-19 L·OVE helps you find in seconds all the articles related to the pandemic, for free, with hopes of being able to open access for more people to all the evidence available about this disease and its different aspects. With this, we aim to encourage decision-making with responsibility and accurate information, that’s also up-to-date, and with minimal impact on time and resources.


The main objective of our L·OVE platform, created by Epistemonikos Foundation in 2017, is to bring evidence closer to people who have to make health decisions, making all the evidence available easier to access and screen, reducing general costs of evidence synthesis.


The majority of the great projects and international movements dedicated to responding to the pandemic are using L·OVE as a reliable source of scientific evidence. We are currently working with several of these projects and international networks, as well as important institutions from Canada, France and Norway. We are also coordinating new projects related to the pandemic with Brazil, South Korea, UK and USA.


Our L·OVE Platform, as well as our evidence collection on COVID-19, is meant to make easier and more efficient the elaboration of systematic reviews, a key process on health decision-making, as well as finding the answers to questions such as what is the best treatment or diagnostic test, among others. It also promotes collaborative and remote work , thus increasing participation of scientists and researchers from all over the world in these processes.


A good example of this, is the accomplishment that our Epistemonikos methods team, along with our L·OVE COVID-19 Working Group, composed by members of more than 25 organisations from Chile, Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Norway and Spain. They have been able to complete 10 systematic reviews in approximately 8 weeks, for a task that normally takes 1 to 2 years for each review.


What is L·OVE?


L·OVE  is a digital tool that combines a series of technologies -including artificial intelligence-, with the efforts of a network of experts, to obtain and organise health evidence. It gathers information from our Epistemonikos Database, the largest worldwide when it comes to health evidence, and used by many people working on evidence synthesis. L·OVE stands for Living OVerview of Evidence, and it is called ‘Living’ because of its constant updating, incorporating new scientific evidence as soon as it is produced.