My Systematic Review Methodology I use to create reports for Patients & Clinicians
An 8 step process to producing high-quality evidence based content.
1. Identify Health Topics
We ask our clients what content they would find most useful and use our in-house expertise to identify important health topics to create content for.
2. Build Clinical Questions
We formulate clinical questions around these topics we think are important.
We use the PICO(TS) format to do this:
Population: Which population are we searching for answers for?
Intervention: Which intervention or what type or classes of intervention are we looking for?
Comparator: Are we trying to see if the intervention is better than placebo only or another intervention?
Outcomes: Which specific part of health are we trying to find evidence of improvement by this intervention?
Timeline: What timeline are we looking for the results or intervention for?
Setting: What clinical setting are we focusing on, if any?
3. Search & Select Evidence
We build a high-quality systematic strategy to find studies in numerous databases.
We start our searches looking for the highest quality evidence first, at the top of something known as the 'hierarchy of evidence' and working our way down. An initial search for weight loss might focus on systematic reviews in one database:
Weight Loss (MeSH term) AND ((((systematic review[ti] OR systematic literature review[ti] OR systematic scoping review[ti] OR systematic narrative review[ti] OR systematic qualitative review[ti] OR systematic evidence review[ti] OR systematic quantitative review[ti] OR systematic meta-review[ti] OR systematic critical review[ti] OR systematic mixed studies review[ti] OR systematic mapping review[ti] OR systematic cochrane review[ti] OR systematic search and review[ti] OR systematic integrative review[ti]) NOT comment[pt] NOT (protocol[ti] OR protocols[ti])) NOT MEDLINE [subset]) OR (Cochrane Database Syst Rev[ta] AND review[pt]) OR systematic review[pt])
We would then follow up this search with a systematic search of weight loss interventions not covered by the most recent systematic reviews, such as:
Weight Loss (MeSH term) AND ((randomized controlled trial[Publication Type] OR (randomized[Title/Abstract] AND controlled[Title/Abstract] AND trial[Title/Abstract]))) or Weight Loss (MeSH term) AND (((clinical[Title/Abstract] AND trial[Title/Abstract]) OR clinical trials as topic[MeSH Terms] OR clinical trial[Publication Type] OR random*[Title/Abstract] OR random allocation[MeSH Terms] OR therapeutic use[MeSH Subheading]))
Finally, we would search for existing published guidelines, patient resources, commercially available technologies & their associated publications.
4. Critique Biostatistics
For the resources we extract, we critique whether studies are biostatistically valid, clinically meaningful and for whom.
Depending on the type of study we retrieve, we use checklists to critique it and decide what to do next. The types of checklists we use include:
Legend: SRMA - Systematic Review & Meta Analysis
5. Expertly Display Content
We group relevant findings together into resources that are optimally designed to guide your decision making.
To create resources that optimally enable people to make health decisions based on the findings of our search and critique we use
Additionally, we may identify that it could be useful to analyse a particular set of studies together, which no one else has done yet, in a technique known as meta-analysis. When we do this, we use the methodology in the Cochrane Handbook of Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses, and use RevMan software.
6. Build-in Health Psychology
We address factors that may make our findings hard to implement or sustain in the real world using the most up to date behavioural psychology and health habit insights.
To do this we systematically assess
7. Expert Peer-Review
We have all resources peer-reviewed by independent clinical, scientific and patient experts and adjust the content
Additionally, to more formally assess the quality of our content and what is included in the latest draft we use:
8. Track Outcomes, Iterate & Update
We continuously improve our processes in response to user feedback, new scientific evidence and clinical or surrogate outcomes data that we collect.
What do you think of our 8 step process? How can we improve? Leave a comment below.
Medical disclaimer: Our services and guides do not provide medical advice. Do not make any changes to your health behaviours based on this article without consulting your licensed clinicians first. See our medical disclaimer.
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!