Environmental Scans explore current and emerging trends and issues, by utilizing a structured online search of relevant websites and sources. Environmental scanning is particularly useful in the health field, as it provides a quick way of understanding a topic, or for informing strategic planning and decision making; for example:
- Compiling evidence on new and emerging health technologies
- How are other organizations dealing with a particular issue?
- Learning more about data collection
- What sort of data are other organizations collecting?
- How are they collecting it?
- What are they using the data for?
- Are there any emerging trends or issues?
- What programming and interventions do other organizations use for certain diseases?
- How do other groups screen for a disease?
- What are the treatment pathways for various organizations?
These searches can be done at the local, national or international level, and sources of information may include: Governmental reports, Health technology assessments, Clinical guidelines, and Policy documents from professional organizations or associations.
In addition, to provide further information and context, Environmental Scan results may also include: interviews, focus groups with clinical experts or key stakeholders, or online surveys targeted to clinical experts or key stakeholders.