Living systematic reviews in rehabilitation science can improve evidence-based healthcare

S. Elbers*, H. Wittink, U. Kaiser, J. Kleijnen, J. Pool, A. Koke, R. Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


Although systematic reviews are considered as central components in evidence-based practice, they currently face an important challenge to keep up with the exponential publication rate of clinical trials. After initial publication, only a minority of the systematic reviews are updated, and it often takes multiple years before these results become accessible. Consequently, many systematic reviews are not up to date, thereby increasing the time-gap between research findings and clinical practice. A potential solution is offered by a living systematic reviews approach. These types of studies are characterized by a workflow of continuous updates which decreases the time it takes to disseminate new findings. Although living systematic reviews are specifically designed to continuously synthesize new evidence in rapidly emerging topics, they have also considerable potential in slower developing domains, such as rehabilitation science. In this commentary, we outline the rationale and required steps to transition a regular systematic review into a living systematic review. We also propose a workflow that is designed for rehabilitation science.
Original languageEnglish
Article number309
Number of pages5
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2021


  • Systematic review
  • Living systematic review
  • Rehabilitation
  • Chronic pain
  • Methods
  • Meta-analysis

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