Healthcare decision makers in search of reliable information comparing health interventions increasingly turn to systematic reviews for the best summary of the evidence.
Systematic reviews identify, select, assess, and synthesize the findings of similar but separate studies and can help clarify what is known and not known about the potential benefits and harms of drugs, devices, and other healthcare services.
Systematic reviews can be helpful for clinicians who want to integrate research findings into their daily practices, for patients to make well-informed choices about their own care, and for professional medical societies and other organizations that develop clinical practice guidelines.
Institute of Medicine.(March 2011) .Report Briefs: Finding what works in healthcare standards for systematic reviews.
Systematic reviews are used to assist group and individuals make decisions to improve peole's health. That includes
A way of combining data from many different research studies. A meta-analysis is a statistical process that combines the findings from individual studies.
A summary of the clinical literature. A systematic review is a critical assessment and evaluation of all research studies that address a particular clinical issue. The researchers use an organized method of locating, assembling, and evaluating a body of literature on a particular topic using a set of specific criteria. A systematic review typically includes a description of the findings of the collection of research studies. The systematic review may also include a quantitative pooling of data, called a meta-analysis.
Randomized Controlled Trial
A controlled clinical trial that randomly (by chance) assigns participants to two or more groups. There are various methods to randomize study participants to their groups.
Cohort Study (Prospective Observational Study)
A clinical research study in which people who presently have a certain condition or receive a particular treatment are followed over time and compared with another group of people who are not affected by the condition.
Case-control studies begin with the outcomes and do not follow people over time. Researchers choose people with a particular result (the cases) and interview the groups or check their records to ascertain what different experiences they had. They compare the odds of having an experience with the outcome to the odds of having an experience without the outcome.
The observation of a defined population at a single point in time or time interval. Exposure and outcome are determined simultaneously.
Case Reports and Series
A report on a series of patients with an outcome of interest. No control group is involved.
Ideas, Editorials, Opinions
Put forth by experts in the field.
Animal Research Studies
Studies conducted using animal subjects.
Test-tube Lab Research
"Test tube" experiments conducted in a controlled laboratory setting.