Updating systematic reviews

24-May-2015 20:17 by 6 Comments

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These protocols both aim to update existing reviews by the same respective sets of authors and represent the first official updates of systematic reviews or maps endorsed by the CEE.As with many other aspects of evidence synthesis methodology, medical systematic review frameworks are more developed than other fields with respect to updates and amendments.

Across the five publications, data suggest near exponential growth in the volume of environmental literature ], but since these reviews lack formally peer-reviewed and published protocols, these works lack the traceability of systematic reviews.

PCORI hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop via teleconference/webinar for a discussion of how PCORI may best invest in an update of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) systematic review of the evidence around nonsurgical treatment options for urinary incontinence.

This workshop served as one of the first efforts of a new initiative PCORI is launching, known as the Evidence Synthesis Program, to conduct syntheses of existing research studies on a particular clinical question or topic to more quickly and efficiently clarify what is known and what evidence gaps may still exist.

For example, aspects of critical appraisal may be improved upon in an update where previous methods were not comprehensive or were absent.

Amendments also offer an opportunity to improve the reporting of the synthesis to increase transparency [].

Updating environmental systematic reviews and maps will be an increasingly important activity as the numbers of both primary studies and synthetic reports in the literature continue to grow.

Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) systematic reviews and systematic maps aim to provide an overview of the best available scientific research to help inform research, policy and practice [] and, as with any piece of research, given the time required to undertake and publish a synthesis, there may be a considerable period between completion of searches and production of the final report.

Any planned deviations whatsoever would require an amendment.

Amendments are systematic reviews or systematic maps that involve a change in the materials and methods of the review (i.e. An amendment requires transparent documentation and justification, along with peer-review by subject and methodological experts, and necessitates the submission of a new protocol and full report that describe any deviations from the original methods.

Most updates to existing CEE systematic reviews are likely to need to be undertaken as amendments.

This may be because key elements of the review topic have changed (such as novel interventions, primary research methods, or terminology), or since methodology is advancing rapidly and novel approaches to synthesis are continuing to be developed [e.g. Since the CEE guidelines are being continually developed and revised to help improve the standards of syntheses, older systematic reviews and maps may not meet best practice levels of methodological rigour, and so amendments provide an opportunity to address any limitations of the previous methods used [].

However, updates to systematic reviews and systematic maps that re-run the original searches (assuming the use of precisely the same inclusion criteria) but fail to find any additional studies for inclusion are also valuable in showing that the original report is up-to-date at the point of the current searches.