CEOsys: Living evidence synthesis as the basis for decisions in the COVID-19 pandemic

The pandemic has accelerated the pace and volume of research outputs enormously. At the same time, policy makers need to be able to quickly make informed decisions, some of which have wide ranging consequences for our society. The same is true for clinicians considering treatment options, as well as the informed acceptance of measures against the pandemic by the general public.

Although a thorough understanding of the evidence is critical for good decision making, it is difficult to maintain a good overview of the research landscape, as well as to assess the reliability of the many available study results in the current situation.

The COVID-19 Evidence Ecosystem (CEOsys) aims to address these challenges. CEOsys is an association of 20 German university hospitals and partner organizations, whose goal it is to compile, summarize, and assess the certainty of results coming from scientific studies examining the most pressing questions about prevention, treatment and consequences of COVID-19. Based on this evidence, the project creates recommendations for action.

Information for every target group

To ensure that society as a whole can benefit from the scientific findings of CEOsys, we tailor the presentation of our results to respective target groups: clinicians, politicians and scientists as well as patients and the general public.

The core of CEOsys is “living” evidence synthesis, i.e. evidence that is constantly updated with the latest scientific results. The evidence assessed by CEOsys feeds directly into equally “living” medical guidelines by the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany (AWMF) that provide clinicians with detailed recommendations and regularly updated evidence on possible treatment options. CEOsys also reaches out to clinicians using the already existing networks of its members, e.g. by creating pocket cards with the most important treatment algorithms or by running webinars with experts from CEOsys and guideline organisations to explain the latest evidence on treatment options.

For patients and their relatives, we provide compact, easy-to-understand summaries of the evidence base for possible treatment options.

For policy makers and the general public, CEOsys creates Evidence Briefs, i.e. short summaries of the current state of scientific knowledge about current policy issues. Where applicable, these summaries provide concrete recommendations for action based on the scientific evidence and highlight the efficacy of certain measures or therapies as well as what scientific data are already available for solving a problem.

All the evidence and information compiled by CEOsys is available on the website www.covid-evidenz.de. It is also distributed directly to the target audiences via adapted formats and channels like webinars, videos, newsletters and social media.