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Living Systematic Reviews: towards real-time evidence for health-care decision-making

12 May, 16 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence

Mavergames 150x150Elliott_150x150

 

By Chris Mavergames and Julian Elliott

Systematic reviews aim to provide an accurate summary of available evidence for specific health questions. In practice, an increase in methodological expectations and an increasing deluge of primary studies challenges the ability of many review teams to produce timely, high quality systematic reviews and to keep them up to date. Only a minority of reviews are updated within 2 years and as new research is published in the intervening period, these delays lead to significant inaccuracy. One estimate is that 7% of systematic reviews are inaccurate the day they are published and after two years 23% of reviews that are not updated will present incorrect conclusions.  The difficulties faced by review teams in keeping reviews up to date leads to considerable inaccuracy and to some extent undermines the value created through the use of rigorous methods. more…

The Rise of Rapid Reviews

24 Mar, 16 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence

JRB profile picture v2By Jon Brassey

“Perfect is the enemy of good” Voltaire

Rapid reviews are becoming increasingly commissioned, used and written about. But why is there this, relatively sudden, interest? Putting it bluntly, it’s because the cornerstone of evidence synthesis, the systematic review, is becoming increasingly out of touch with the needs of today’s healthcare systems.

The journal Systematic Reviews recently featured an editorial ‘All in the Family: systematic reviews, rapid reviews, scoping reviews, realist reviews, and more’. In the article they report “It is our view that all of these new forms of reviews are related to systematic reviews, similar to the way that different biological Species within the same Family are related to each other.” Tantalisingly they later raise the issue of the extinction of some methods. Is it a given that systematic reviews, as we know them, deserve to survive? more…

GATE – a Graphic Appraisal Tool for Epidemiological studies

12 Nov, 15 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence

Rod Jackson head shotBy Rod Jackson

The Graphic Appraisal Tool for Epidemiological studies (GATE) is a simple, easily remembered toolkit to help you critically appraise epidemiological studies that includes one picture, two equations and three acronyms. GATE uses a picture of a triangle, circle, square and two arrows to represent the generic structure of epidemiological studies. We call this picture ‘the GATE frame.’ All common epidemiological study designs, from randomised controlled trials to case-control studies, can be illustrated using a GATE frame. While the GATE approach to critical appraisal covers the same ground as other critical appraisal guides, its point of difference is its generic graphic framework that emphasises the similarities between all study designs. With GATE, your goal is to ‘hang’ a study on the GATE frame as follows: more…

BMJ Clinical Evidence – putting evidence in context

18 Jun, 15 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence

By Caroline Blaine

Caroline Blaine

 

BMJ Clinical Evidence is now 16 years old. Those in the UK and North America may remember the handbook – initially pocket size it grew over the years as new topics and new evidence were constantly added. Clinical Evidence is now very much an online resource offering a unique systematic overview of the current evidence base for common clinical conditions. This is combined with our tools to practise, learn and teach evidence-based medicine making it a go to place for clinicians, researchers and students. more…

A brief introduction to the concept of Evidence-Based Research

7 May, 15 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence

 

by Hans Lund

The scientific ideal
On 15th of February 1676, in a letter to his colleague (and rival) Robert Hooke, Sir Isaac Newton wrote the following well-known sentence: “If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Newton referred to influential scientists before him such as Copernicus, Galilei and Kepler and emphasised one of the fundamental aspects of science – science is cumulative with each new discovery dependent on previous knowledge. more…

How much health evidence is there in the world?

2 Apr, 15 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence

by Gabriel Rada

Picture Gabriel Rada
Thirty five years ago, Archie Cochrane reproached the medical profession for not having managed to organise a “critical summary, by specialty or subspecialty, adapted periodically, of all relevant randomised controlled trials”.
Systematic reviews were invented to deal with this problem, thus enabling what we call evidence based medicine, and their number has being steadily growing. more…

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