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Developing and Selecting Topic Nominations for Systematic Reviews.

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Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2008-.
AHRQ Methods for Effective Health Care.
2012 Nov 19.

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1
Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center, Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest

Excerpt

OBJECTIVES:

The 2009 AHRQ Series Paper 3 described the principles underlying the selection of topics for systematic reviews within the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program. This paper describes methods for topic nomination development to support the selection of topics for systematic reviews within the EHC Program.

DATA SOURCES:

The topic nomination development processes described in this paper are derived from 4 years of experience developing, refining, and managing the topic nomination development and selection processes for the EHC Program, along with feedback from Evidence-based Practice Centers and AHRQ staff more recently involved with these activities.

RESULTS:

The topic nomination development process includes background searching, definition of the topic scope, a search for systematic reviews, documentation of existing guidance on the topic, a feasibility scan for primary research, and completion of a three part topic brief that includes a Cover Sheet, Selection Criteria document, and Existing Guidance document. Selection of topics for systematic review occurs at monthly meetings of a topic triage group representing stakeholder and scientific perspectives, as well as the programmatic authority vested in AHRQ, and is informed by the information presented in the topic briefs. Results of the topic selection process are described in a Nomination Summary Document to communicate the disposition of nominations to the public.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS:

Potential avenues for expansion of topic nomination development and selection activities within the EHC Program include prioritization among topics selected for a review when resources are constrained and incorporating evaluations of the need to update reviews conducted by the EHC Program into the current topic selection process.

CONCLUSIONS:

Given the extent of health care needs and constraints on the resources available to address these needs, methods to identify the most important topics for synthesized research are essential. The consistent, transparent process for evaluating topics described in this paper is designed to identify the topics most appropriate for a review by the EHC Program.

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