Approaches to prioritisation: the Cochrane Airways Group experience

Abstract text
Background: We have traditionally registered review titles from individuals with a passion for their subject and sufficient skills and support to complete their review. While this has produced a breadth of topics that we are proud of, we have a duty to maximise the utility of our review portfolio to not only our funder, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), but also to the clinicians, policymakers and consumers who use them to inform healthcare decisions.
Objectives: To pilot the Cochrane-NIHR prioritisation flowchart and STATA tool. To use results in a transparent process to help prioritise new reviews and updates with input from internal and external stakeholders.
Methods: We selected the twelve most highly cited reviews and the twelve reviews with the most website hits, which yielded a total of 21 unique reviews for piloting. We searched either the CAG specialised register or Medline for new trials using the search string in each review. We screened titles and abstracts and created a spreadsheet to record decisions and information around the content of reviews. Where we were able to establish the number of new studies, we used this information in STATA.
Results: the tool seemed complicated at first, but was manageable and helpful. Eight reviews were indicated for update, 5 were possible updates and 8 not to be updated (already up-to-date, irrelevant review question, not enough new data).
Conclusions: The flow-chart tool provided a helpful structure to assess each review and a transparent way to summarise evidence to stakeholders. We didn’t feel that the STATA tool was worth the additional workload and was too crude for this particular set of reviews, although it may find application elsewhere. It is possible that screening searches at the editorial base saves the author’s time.

Welsh E1, Karner C1, Stovold E1, Cates C1
1 Cochrane Airways Group, UK
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Emma Welsh
Contact person Affiliation Country
Charlotta Karner (Contact this person) Cochrane Airways Group United Kingdom
Date and Location
Oral session C12O1
Wednesday 3 October 2012 - 11:00 - 11:20