An integral part of improving preparedness and response planning is to learn from past public health emergencies. Conducting after-action reviews (AARs) is one way of capturing learning, but there is no standardised approach to conducting such assessments. In order to support public health practitioners in making the best use of AARs, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published 'Best practice recommendations for conducting after-action reviews to enhance public health preparedness' which identifies common features of AARs, provides a validity assessment tool to appraise them, and proposes a set of best practice recommendations.
The report does not recommend a single best AAR methodology for the purposes of preparedness planning. Instead it outlines key stages, good practice and minimum standard dimensions to consider when planning and undertaking an AAR, alongside 11 validity-boosting recommendations that every AAR practitioner should consider to improve the use of AAR methodology.