Nelson Systematic Reviews to Answer Healthcare, Questions, 2e


S ystematic reviews use scientific methods to identify, select, assess, and summarize the find ings of studies to answer health care questions. They provide the evidence for evidence-based medicine and are essential in determining health care guidelines and policies. As such, a sys tematic review can have a huge impact on how health care is practiced and funded. To meet this challenge, systematic reviews must adhere to methodological standards. They may include only some or the wrong kinds of studies or provide incorrect conclusions. The selection of studies could be biased or the statistical analysis inappropriate. The studies included in a systematic review could be so flawed that their results are unreliable. A systematic review that simply col lects and catalogs studies will miss these possibilities, whereas one that accurately evaluates and synthesizes the evidence will reveal them. This book is a guide to conducting comprehensive systematic reviews to answer health care questions based on currently accepted methods and standards in the field. It is most relevant to health care practices and populations in the United States but can be applied more broadly. Although intended primarily for researchers, its concise format and practical approach make it suitable for multiple types of users. It emphasizes main concepts, incorporates examples and case studies, and provides references for additional sources. Most examples are based on recent real-world projects conducted by the authors. The second edition is an updated resource that describes essential components in designing and conducting a systematic review. These include defining its purpose, topic, and scope; devel oping research questions; building the team and managing the project; identifying and selecting studies; extracting relevant data; assessing studies for quality and applicability; synthesizing the evidence using qualitative and quantitative analysis; assessing the strength of evidence; and preparing and disseminating the report. New chapters include how to assess the quality of diag nostic accuracy studies, qualitative studies, and systematic reviews; a guide to electronic tools for systematic reviews; and answers to case studies. Each component provides the necessary underpinnings for a comprehensive systematic review that accurately reflects a body of evidence that could ultimately lead to improvements in health care.

Heidi D. Nelson, MD, MPH, MACP, FRCP

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