What are they?
EMAHSN is pleased to offer a literature review service to partner organisations - NHS health and social care providers and commissioners in the East Midlands.

We will review the evidence in a specific area, chosen by you, in order to underpin, support or challenge your planned changes and developments in practice.

We have called these reviews SPARKLERs which stands for: SPreading Applied Research & Knowledge – Longer Evidence Review. We will work on closely with you so that the review is coproduced, targeted and highly relevant. We pride ourselves on delivering the SPARKLER in a time frame that is beneficial to your decision making process and can usually complete your request within two months of finalising the review brief with you SPARKS are shorter “at a glance” summaries of evidence and are produced as a summary of the SPARKLER as a part of our offer. 

Why would I want one?
Often, evidence is not used to inform service change because project leads or managers neither have access to academic resources nor the time to review and synthesise the literature. The SPARKLER service addresses this gap and our reviewers work closely with you to shape and produce a rigorous but accessible analysis of the evidence. This rigourous review process will reflect the entirety of the evidence, whether or not it is supportive of your proposed change, or otherwise. No material will be excluded, so you can be assured of a comprehensive and balanced review to inform your decisions.

How do I commission a SPARKLER?
Requests for a SPARKLER should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. using the attached form and should include:
  • Your organisation
  • A paragraph (200 words) detailing the topic/context requiring review, why the review is important and how it will contribute to the decision making process
  • The desired delivery date
  • Your agreement to formally evaluate the process
Please complete this SPARKLER request form and return it to us.

EMAHSN will conduct reviews of the evidence in areas that:
  • l have widespread application across the East Midlands
  • Can inform decision making to improve healthcare outcomes and patient experience
  • Have a significant evidence base that needs synthesis
  • The commissioner is able to work with the EMAHSN to coproduce a relevant and timely review

EMAHSN is unlikely to be able to support a request for a review of:
  • An individual treatment
  • Small scale initiatives which have a low impact on a small patient group
  • Small scale initiatives which have limited spread potential due to them only being applicable in one geographic location or organisation
  • Topics where there is a lack of evidence
To review the SPARKLER process in more detail you can access our SPARKLER approval process and timeline.

are not a systematic review and are not written for an expert academic audience or to advance theory development; SPARKLERS are an independent presentation of the evidence that exists and are designed for the managers and clinicians responsible for making the decisions on a day to day basis in our health and social care systems. SPARKLERS provide a summary of “what is out there” which may be sufficient or they may trigger a further investigation. At all times we advise that these are read in conjunction with the relevant NICE guidance at

The SPARKLER remains the property of EMAHSN and will be widely circulated, you can see copies of our Sparks and Sparklers here.