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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32414. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032414. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Prioritisation of clinical research by the example of type 2 diabetes: a caregiver-survey on perceived relevance and need for evidence.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Herz-Zentrum Bodensee, Konstanz, Germany.



The Cochrane Collaboration aims at providing the best available evidence for interventions in health care. We wished to examine to which extent treatments considered relevant by caregivers in type 2 diabetes are covered by Cochrane systematic reviews.


130 different interventions in type 2 diabetes were identified based on a review of clinical practice guidelines and expert opinion (Table S1). 459 members of the German Diabetes Society (diabetologists, general practitioners, diabetic nurses, nutritionists, podologists, others) were surveyed via e-mail-list to rank a) the perceived clinical relevance and b) the perceived need for evidence of interventions, based on an internet survey. In the Cochrane Library, there were, at the time of this evaluation, 56 reviews on interventions in diabetes. Generally, coverage of topics by Cochrane reviews reflected the perceived clinical relevance and perceived need for evidence. As an example, highly ranked treatments such as lifestyle changes or oral antidiabetics were well covered, while low rank treatments such as complementary approaches were not covered. Discrepancies occurred with new treatments such as amylin-analogues (low relevance, high need for evidence, review not yet completed) and interventions with immediate and dramatic effects such as treating hypoglycemia (high relevance, low need for evidence, no review). Also, there was a relative scarcity of reviews concerning specific problems, in particular, treatment of late diabetic complications.


For most interventions, perceived relevance and perceived need for evidence are reflected by the evidence already available. Prioritizing should aim at improving immediacy and consideration of the treatment of complications.

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