In the past years, our group has expanded from 3 to currently 8 researchers, in addition to a coordinating researcher and the manager of the group. Challenges started to arise with working in a uniform and efficient way, especially for large guideline projects to which several researchers contributed. In addition, our type of clients broadened from purely internal clients (Red Cross operational services in need for a specific guideline or systematic review) to external clients (e.g. larger organisations or funding agencies commissioning systematic reviews), so there was a growing need for additional procedures and processes. As our centre is part of a larger organization, the Belgian Red Cross, constantly looking for quality improvement, and several other departments (Blood Service and supporting departments) of the Belgian Red Cross already went through an ISO 9001 certification process, we decided to also implement the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System (QMS).
In preparation of obtaining the certificate, we recorded our procedures for the development of evidence summaries for evidence-based guidelines and the development of systematic reviews in standard operating procedures (SOPs). Furthermore, we described our QMS in a Quality manual.
We are proud to announce that since June 2020, we are ISO9001:2015 certified for the development of evidence summaries and systematic reviews.
All CEBaP team members started in 2020 to track the time during their activities regarding knowledge development (primary and secondary research), knowledge dissemination and other activities such as fundraising or ISO certification. The time tracking results indicated that CEBaP is primarily conducting primary/secondary research (especially systematic reviews and evidence-based guidelines), about 60% of their time, followed by knowledge dissemination (~20%) and other activities (~20%). This information will also be used to improve future estimations about the time/cost needed to complete research projects and to improve planning.