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Using systematic reviews to inform NIHR HTA trial planning and design: a retrospective cohort

Using systematic reviews to inform NIHR HTA trial planning and design: a retrospective cohort
Using systematic reviews to inform NIHR HTA trial planning and design: a retrospective cohort
Background: Chalmers and Glasziou’s paper published in 2014 recommends research funding bodies should mandate that proposals for additional primary research are built on systematic reviews of existing evidence showing what is already known. Jones et al. identified 11 (23 %) of 48 trials funded during 2006–8 by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme did not reference a systematic review. This study did not explore the reasons for trials not referencing a systematic review or consider trials using any other evidence in the absence of a systematic review. Referencing a systematic review may not be possible in certain circumstances, for instance if the systematic review does not address the question being proposed in the trial. The current study extended Jones’ study by exploring the reasons for why trials did not reference a systematic review and included a more recent cohort of trials funded in 2013 to determine if there were any changes in the referencing or use of systematic reviews.

Methods: Two cohorts of NIHR HTA randomised controlled trials were included. Cohort I included the same trials as Jones et al. (with the exception of one trial which was discontinued). Cohort II included NIHR HTA trials funded in 2013. Data extraction was undertaken independently by two reviewers using full applications and trial protocols. Descriptive statistics was used and no formal statistical analyses were conducted.

Results: Five (11 %) trials of the 47 funded during 2006–2008 did not reference a systematic review. These 5 trials had warranted reasons for not referencing systematic reviews. All trials from Cohort II referenced a systematic review. A quarter of all those trials with a preceding systematic review used a different primary outcome than those stated in the reviews.

Conclusions: The NIHR requires that proposals for new primary research are justified by existing evidence and the findings of this study confirm the adherence to this requirement with a high rate of applications using systematic reviews.
systematic reviews, health technology assessment, randomised controlled trials, design, primary outcome
1471-2288
1-7
Bhurke, Sheetal
cc2ead20-3dfb-42c4-a8c4-cda360b52ab3
Cook, Andrew
ab9c7bb3-974a-4db9-b3c2-9942988005d5
Tallant, Anna
f581d0e4-15ec-45ed-86de-9ca8fab710c6
Young, Amanda
6bb7aa9c-776b-4bdd-be4e-cf67abd05652
William, Elaine
8fcbbdb7-79e3-4374-ab2d-d4ed27e85060
Raftery, James
27c2661d-6c4f-448a-bf36-9a89ec72bd6b
Bhurke, Sheetal
cc2ead20-3dfb-42c4-a8c4-cda360b52ab3
Cook, Andrew
ab9c7bb3-974a-4db9-b3c2-9942988005d5
Tallant, Anna
f581d0e4-15ec-45ed-86de-9ca8fab710c6
Young, Amanda
6bb7aa9c-776b-4bdd-be4e-cf67abd05652
William, Elaine
8fcbbdb7-79e3-4374-ab2d-d4ed27e85060
Raftery, James
27c2661d-6c4f-448a-bf36-9a89ec72bd6b

Bhurke, Sheetal, Cook, Andrew and Tallant, Anna et al. (2015) Using systematic reviews to inform NIHR HTA trial planning and design: a retrospective cohort. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 15 (108), 1-7. (doi:10.1186/s12874-015-0102-2). (PMID:26715462)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Chalmers and Glasziou’s paper published in 2014 recommends research funding bodies should mandate that proposals for additional primary research are built on systematic reviews of existing evidence showing what is already known. Jones et al. identified 11 (23 %) of 48 trials funded during 2006–8 by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme did not reference a systematic review. This study did not explore the reasons for trials not referencing a systematic review or consider trials using any other evidence in the absence of a systematic review. Referencing a systematic review may not be possible in certain circumstances, for instance if the systematic review does not address the question being proposed in the trial. The current study extended Jones’ study by exploring the reasons for why trials did not reference a systematic review and included a more recent cohort of trials funded in 2013 to determine if there were any changes in the referencing or use of systematic reviews.

Methods: Two cohorts of NIHR HTA randomised controlled trials were included. Cohort I included the same trials as Jones et al. (with the exception of one trial which was discontinued). Cohort II included NIHR HTA trials funded in 2013. Data extraction was undertaken independently by two reviewers using full applications and trial protocols. Descriptive statistics was used and no formal statistical analyses were conducted.

Results: Five (11 %) trials of the 47 funded during 2006–2008 did not reference a systematic review. These 5 trials had warranted reasons for not referencing systematic reviews. All trials from Cohort II referenced a systematic review. A quarter of all those trials with a preceding systematic review used a different primary outcome than those stated in the reviews.

Conclusions: The NIHR requires that proposals for new primary research are justified by existing evidence and the findings of this study confirm the adherence to this requirement with a high rate of applications using systematic reviews.

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Accepted/In Press date: 15 December 2015
Published date: 29 December 2015
Keywords: systematic reviews, health technology assessment, randomised controlled trials, design, primary outcome
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 386095
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/386095
ISSN: 1471-2288
PURE UUID: bb029553-ff36-4526-8128-b880a6ac2088
ORCID for Andrew Cook: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6680-439X
ORCID for Amanda Young: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1486-5561

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Date deposited: 28 Jan 2016 12:33
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 00:58

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Contributors

Author: Sheetal Bhurke
Author: Andrew Cook ORCID iD
Author: Anna Tallant
Author: Amanda Young ORCID iD
Author: Elaine William
Author: James Raftery

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