Assessing the relevance and uptake of core outcome sets (an agreed minimum collection of outcomes to measure in research studies) in Cochrane systematic reviews: A review

Paula R. Williamson, Ricardo De Ávila Oliveira, Mike Clarke, Sarah L. Gorst, Karen Hughes, Jamie J. Kirkham, Tianjing Li, Ian J. Saldanha, Jochen Schmitt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives A core outcome set (COS) is an agreed standardised minimum collection of outcomes that should be measured and reported in research in a specific area of health. Cochrane systematic reviews (â € reviews') are rigorous reviews on health-related topics conducted under the auspices of Cochrane. This study examines the use of existing COS to inform the choice of outcomes in Cochrane systematic reviews (â € reviews') and investigates the views of the coordinating editors of Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) on this topic. Methods A cohort of 100 recently published or updated Cochrane reviews were assessed for reference to a COS being used to inform the choice of outcomes for the review. Existing COS, published 2 or more years before the review publication, were then identified to assess how often a reviewer could have used a relevant COS if it was available. We asked 52 CRG coordinating editors about their involvement in COS development, how outcomes are selected for reviews in their CRG and their views of the advantages and challenges surrounding the standardisation of outcomes within their CRG. Results In the cohort of reviews from 2019, 40% (40/100) of reviewers noted problems due to outcome inconsistency across the included studies. In 7% (7/100) of reviews, a COS was referenced in relation to the choice of outcomes for the review. Relevant existing COS could be considered for a review update in 35% of the others (33/93). Most editors who responded (31/36, 86%) thought that COS should definitely or possibly be used to inform the choice of outcomes in a review. Conclusions Systematic reviewers are continuing to note outcome heterogeneity but are starting to use COS to inform their reviews. There is potential for greater uptake of COS in Cochrane reviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere036562
JournalBMJ open
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 6 2020

Keywords

  • clinical trials
  • general medicine (see internal medicine)
  • statistics & research methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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