Systematic Reviews Caucus
The Systematic Reviews Caucus of the Medical Library Association has been approved. Below are the justifications used for establishing the group.
This is a proposal to establish a Systematic Reviews Caucus for the Medical Library Association. The proposal asserts that:
- Systematic reviews are recognized as an important method in healthcare research
- Institute of Medicine of the National Academies standards require that a librarian be part of the process/team
- The standards, methods, and products are still evolving.
Assertion 1: Systematic reviews are recognized as an important method in healthcare research.
Dr. Ben Goldcare, in his forward to the book Testing Treatments, wrote: “the notion of systematic review – looking at the totality of evidence – is quietly one of the most important innovations in medicine over the past 30 years.” (Evans et al 2011). The research method of systematic reviews, which “uses explicit and rigorous methods to identify, critically appraise, and synthesize relevant studies,” has moved to the forefront of medical research and is positioned at the top of most hierarchies of the quality of evidence (Mulrow & Cook, 1998).
Assertion 2: There has been a sharp increase in utilization of the systematic review method by researchers and clinicians.
In 2004, Clarke estimated “that approximately 10,000 Cochrane reviews are needed to cover all health care interventions that have already been investigated in controlled trials, and these reviews will need to be updated at the rate of 5000 per year” (Clarke, 2004). This number has only increased since Clarke projected this number nearly 10 years ago as reflected by the 30,000 systematic reviews available in PubMed Health which includes reviews published starting in January 2003. Systematic reviews have guided changes in practices, guidelines, and policies for clinicians, healthcare professionals, and the law (Brownson, Chriqui, and Stamatakis, 2009).
Assertion 3: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies standards for reviews require that a librarian be part of the process/team.
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2011) has two standards referring to librarians:
3.1.1 Work with a librarian or other information specialist trained in performing systematic reviews to plan the search strategy
3.1.3 Use an independent librarian or other information specialist to peer review the search strategy
Assertion 4: Systematic review methods are complex and take years to fully learn.
Conducting searches for systematic reviews goes beyond expert searching and requires an understanding of the entire process of the systematic review. Just as expert searching is not fully mastered by the end of a library degree, mastering the systematic review process takes a great deal of time and practice. Attending workshops and webinars can introduce the topic, but application of the knowledge through practice is required. Courses on systematic reviews are starting to be included in library school curriculums.
Assertion 5: The standards, methods, and products designed for systematic reviews change often.
Once the method of systematic reviews is mastered, it takes constant effort to keep up with the ever changing standards, improvements to methods, new types of reviews, and new products. This is one of the most studied types of research methods, with dozens of articles published articles each year about the various aspects of the method.
Brownson RC, Chriqui JF, and Stamatakis KA. (2009) Understanding evidence-based public health policy. Am J Public Health, 99(9): 1576-83.
Clarke M. (2004) “Systematic reviews and the Cochrane Collaboration” http://184.108.40.206/docs/whycc.htm
Evans I, Thornton H, Chalmers I, & Glasziou P. (2011). Testing treatments two: Better research for better healthcare. London: Pinter & Martin Ltd.
Institute of Medicine (U.S.). & Eden J. (2011). Finding what works in health care: Standards for systematic reviews. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press. Link: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Finding-What-Works-in-Health-Care-Standards-for-systematic-Reviews.aspx
Lavis J, Davies H, Oxman A, Denis J, Golden-Biddle K, & Ferlie E. (2005). Towards systematic reviews that inform health care management and policy-making. Journal of health services research & policy, 10 Suppl 1, 35-48.
Mulrow CD, & Cook D. (1998). Systematic reviews: Synthesis of best evidence for health care decisions. Philadelphia, Pa: American College of Physicians.
The SR caucus would like to collect a set of resources that are useful for all librarians supporting or conducting systematic reviews. Below is the beginning of that list.
Organizations which support, collect, or conduct systematic reviews:
- Campbell Collaboration: international research network that produces and supports systematic reviews of effects of social interventions in Crime & Justice, Education, International Development, and Social Welfare.
- Cochrane Collaboration: international network that conducts and supports systematic reviews of effects of clinical interventions
- EPPI-Centre: Evidencefor Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre collects, produces, and supports systematic reviews through databases, software, and courses
- Joanna Briggs Institute: international research center which supports and conducts systematic reviews
- SR toolbox: database of potential tools for conducting reviews
Standards for reviews
- AMSTAR: A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews
- Methodological standards for the conduct of new Cochrane Intervention Reviews
- PRISMA statement: PRISMA stands for Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Provides standards for reporting systematic reviews as journal articles, abstracts, posters, and more
Databases of reviews
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality(AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice reports
- Allied Health Evidence, 4 databases in one:
- PEDro: Physiotherapy Evidence Database
- OT Seeker: Occupational Therapy systematic evaluation of evidence
- PsycBITE: Psychological Database for Brain Impairment Treatment Efficacy
- speechBITE: Speech pathology database for best interventions and treatment efficacy
- Bandolier: clinical focus, esp. pain; includes EBM glossary
- Campbell Collaboration: systematic reviews on crime & justice, education, and social welfare
- CanChild: Centre for Childhood Disability Research
- CASE (Culuture And Sport Evidence): database on the drivers, impact, and value of engagement in culture and sport
- Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry: from American Dentistry Association includes systematic reviews and critical summaries in dentistry
- Centre for Reviews and Dissemination: includes guides on how to conduct systematic reviews and more
- Center for Evidence Based Mental Health: few reviews; tutorials and other resources
- Cochrane Library database of systematic reviews and meta analysis (free version)
- Collaboration for Environmental Evidence: based in UK, includes reviews on environmental issues
- Community Guide: evidence based recommendations for programs to promote community health
- DARE (Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects)
- Database of Promoting Health Effectiveness Reviews (DoPHER) register of health promotion reivews (EPPI Center)
- Effective Public Health Practice Project (EBHPP): reviews of health interventions
- EPPI-Centre: Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre: conducts reviews, provides databases, and methods on reviews Education Reviews Health Promotion and Public Health Reviews
- Health evidence database of health promotion interventions, systematic reviews, and meta analysis to support evidence based decision making
- Health Services/Technology Assessment Text (HSTAT) reviews of health services and technology
- Health Technology Assessment (HTA) from CRD
- JBI Library of Systematic Reviews: from the Joanna Briggs Institute, covers nursing, midwifery, and allied health systematic review
- National Clearance Guidelines: public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines
- Network Business Sustainability Reviews: produces reviews in business literature
- NIH Office of Dietary Supplements Evidence Based Review Program
- NHS EED (National Health Services Economic Evaluation Database) economic evaluations
- PubMedHealth: provides systematic reviews and meta analysis from 2000-current, sources include PubMed, Cochrane, DARE, and more
- Occupational Therapy Evidence-Based Research Group: provides some guidance for OT reviews from McMasters
- OT Seeker: database of systematic reviews and randomized control trials in occupational therapy
- Systematic Reviews in International Development: United Kingdom
- Turning Research Into Practice: evidence based medicine database with abstracts of review
Journals about methods of reviews
- Research Synthesis Methods: indexed by Medline
- Systematic Reviews: Biomed Central journal which covers all aspects of design, conduct, and reporting of systematic reviews
Systematic Reviews Leaders