PEPs - Clinical Quality and Evidence

Module 2 - Evidence

Improving the quality of evidence

It can be frustrating when you are trying to critically appraise an article, only to find that key information is missing. There have been a number of initiatives recently to try and improve the quality of published data. These include:

CONSORT - standards for reporting RCTs

SPIRIT - standards for designing RCTs

STROBE - standards for epidemiological studies

STARD - diagnostic accuracy testing

STREGA - standards for genetic association studies

PRISMA - standards for meta-analyses and systematic reviews

In September 2004, an international committee of medical journal editors agreed that they would only consider trials for publication if they had been registered before the enrolment of the first participant. This stops researchers from doing retrospective trawls of their data and publishing findings from small sub-group analyses.