Research in the Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies
The Value of Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Studies
Patients and clinicians often receive extensive scientific information regarding the best diagnostic modalities, the most effective treatments or prognosis of medical conditions. At times, these scientific investigations contradict one another, often with not comparable “study quality” indices. Moreover, given the growing bulk of scientific investigations from around the globe, it is almost impossible for patients and clinicians to read all relevant and new articles. Systematic reviews, with or without an included meta-analysis are secondary scientific investigations that employ rigorous electronic and human based strategies to identify virtually all of the relevant information on a topic, critically apprise their “quality” and use sophisticated statistical methods to sum up their findings (i.e. data synthesis) in order to draw a conclusion based on several primary investigations. Therefore, well-conducted systematic reviews, with or without a quantitative analysis (meta-analysis), provide the best available evidence for a wide array of clinical inquiries, given that their conclusions are based on the findings from multiple studies pooled together from comprehensive and systematic literature searches.
At our lab, we are committed to providing the best available information to patients and clinicians in an understandable and comprehensible format, given the complex nature of these type of investigations. We often use Number Needed to Treat (NNT) or Number Needed to Harm (NNH) to effectively transfer the most accurate, novel and pertinent information to the community. This approach has been received well by both lay audiences and the physician scientists and has been featured in numerous news outlets to bridge the gap between scientists and patients.