Cochrane primarily aims to systematically review trials of effectiveness that are important to inform clinical decisions. Editorial groups support authors to achieve high quality reviews and prioritise review proposals in their clinical domain that are submitted or elicited. Prioritising proposals requires two approaches, identifying: 1) clinical practices for which the evidence of effectiveness is uncertain; and 2) interventions in which there are trials of effectiveness (especially randomised controlled trials, RCTs) not systematically reviewed. This study addresses this second approach for the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group (CARIG).
To identify RCTs of acute respiratory infections that have not been systematically reviewed we compared the Group’s trials register of RCTs against a list of current Cochrane ARI (systematic) Reviews to identify gaps in topics (the same intervention and health condition) where completed trials have not been systematically reviewed. We assigned a principle intervention and health condition to each of 157 Cochrane Reviews (CRs) and 5,393 RCTs.
We identified many RCT topics that have not been systematically reviewed. They need to be addressed in a separate process to establish their priority to clinicians.