'Irrelevant’ or 'neglected’? An analysis of RCTs in the ARI Group

Tags: Poster
Thorning S1, Van Driel M1, Del Mar C1
1Acute Respiratory Infections Group, Australia

Background: Acute respiratory infections (ARI) are commonly managed problems in general practice. The Cochrane ARI group supports 120 reviews covering a wide range of topics relevant to primary care. Topics of Cochrane reviews are based on questions relevant to clinical practice. The ARI reviews include RCTs that have been indexed in the group’s specialized register in CENTRAL. It is unclear if RCTs that have not been included in reviews are 'irrelevant’ or simply 'neglected’.

Objectives: 1. Identify the proportion of RCTs indexed in CENTRAL included in ARI systematic reviews. 2. Assess the number of available RCTs that are 'irrelevant’ (not useful for clinical practice) or 'neglected’ (relevant and not yet reviewed).

Methods: We selected 3 topics relevant to primary care within the scope of the ARI group. We identified the relevant Cochrane reviews. Records were retrieved from CENTRAL on each of the selected ARI topics. Each record was checked for RCT characteristics and coded. A bibliometric analysis of included RCTs and number of potentially useful RCTs will be completed. Analysis by a panel of primary care clinicians of the non-included RCTs will classify questions covered by the available RCTs as 'relevant’ or 'irrelevant’.

Results: Bibliographic analysis is currently being conducted and results will be provided at the Colloquium in October.

Conclusions: Cochrane reviews cover clinically relevant topics, but include only a small proportion of available RCTs. Cochrane reviews could play a more proactive role in identifying topics to cover in future clinical research and ensuring their clinical relevance.