Updating Comparative Effectiveness Reviews

Current Efforts in AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program

Published In: Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, v. 64, no. 11, Nov. 2011, p. 1208-1215

Posted on RAND.org on November 01, 2011

by Alexander Tsertsvadze, Margaret A. Maglione, Roger Chou, Chantelle Garritty, Craig Coleman, Linda Lux, Eric Bass, Howard Balshem, David Moher

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This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

OBJECTIVES: To review the current knowledge and efforts on updating systematic reviews (SRs) as applied to comparative effectiveness reviews (CERs). STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: This article outlines considerations for updating CERs by including a definition of the updating process, describing issues around assessing whether to update, and providing general guidelines for the update process. Key points to consider include (1) identifying when to update CERs, (2) how to update CERs, and (3) how to present, report, and interpret updated results in CERs. RESULTS: Currently, there is little information about what proportion of SRs needs updating. Similarly, there is no consensus on when to initiate updating and how best to carry it out. CONCLUSION: CERs need to be regularly updated as new evidence is produced. Lack of attention to updating may lead to outdated and sometimes misleading conclusions that compromise health care and policy decisions. The article outlines several specific goals for future research, one of them being the development of efficient guideline for updating CERs applicable across evidence-based practice centers.

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