Methods Development

Ongoing efforts to scientifically evaluate the methods used to conduct systematic reviews are critical for ensuring the validity and credibility of current and future systematic reviews. As the largest producers of systematic reviews in North America and Canada, AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Centers are also leaders in advancing the methodology of conducting systematic reviews.

Methods development and refinement is a natural outgrowth of many of our projects and many important methodological publications have resulted from this work. KPRA EPC investigators are currently involved in two workgroups of AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program to advance the methods of conducting systematic reviews focused on risk of bias and quantitative analysis. We previously collaborated in workgroups on stakeholder engagement, using existing systematic reviews, multi-component interventions, topic refinement, reporting bias, subgroups, quality improvement, and adapting IOM standards to the EPC Program.

Our researchers have also been deeply involved in methods and procedural development for the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) over the past ten years. We provide ongoing support for eight USPSTF workgroups that focus on methodological issues or population groups, including workgroups on methods, topic prioritization, older adults, child health, behavioral counseling, subgroups, risk-based approaches, and decision analysis.

Over the past five years, KPRA EPC researchers have helped the USPSTF refine its approaches to updating reviews, incorporating decision analyses with systematic reviews, and adapting the USPSTF methods to fairly address the needs of special populations, particularly older adults. We helped create the first USPSTF Procedure Manual in collaboration with USPSTF members and AHRQ, and have led efforts to articulate, implement, and refine methods for the USPSTF behavioral and complex interventions for prevention.

KPRA EPC researchers leading the Comparative Effectiveness Research in Genomics & Personalized Medicine for Colorectal Cancer (CERGEN) study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, advanced methods for synthesizing scientific evidence related to genetic testing. Our researchers have also led methods work on using analytic frameworks for reviewing the evidence on genomic testing and reviewing the analytic validity of genomic or molecular testing.

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