Is that diagnostic test accurate? Made-in-Ottawa guideline expected to change research around the world

March 7, 2018

In a world of constantly conflicting medical studies, systematic reviews have become an essential tool for health-care decision making. In 2009, Dr. David Moher and his colleagues created the original PRISMA guidelines to help make these reviews more useful for doctors and policy makers by ensuring that key details were included. Now Dr. Matthew McInnes has led the development of an adaptation of the guidelines specifically for systematic reviews that look at the accuracy of diagnostic tests. These tests are done to confirm whether an individual has a disease or condition, and include imaging and laboratory tests. The 24-member PRISMA-DTA group refined PRISMA for diagnostic test accuracy by modifying 17 items, omitting two items and adding two new items. The new guidelines, published in JAMA, are expected to improve transparency of these systematic reviews and allow for more informed decision making regarding the use of diagnostic tests. Similar made-in-Ottawa guidelines have been endorsed by more than 500 medical journals worldwide.

Authors: Matthew D. F. McInnes, David Moher, Brett D. Thombs, Trevor A. McGrath, Patrick M. Bossuyt, and the PRISMA-DTA Group.

Funding: This research was possible because of generous donations to The Ottawa Hospital for Research to Improve Patient Care. The researchers have also received support from Canadian Institute for Health Research, Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies Group, University of Ottawa Department of Radiology, National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care SouthWest Peninsula.

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