Methodological systematic review identifies major limitations in prioritization processes for updating
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OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to identify and describe strategies to prioritize the updating of systematic reviews (SRs), health technology assessments (HTAs), or clinical guidelines (CGs). STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We conducted an SR of studies describing one or more methods to prioritize SRs, HTAs, or CGs for updating. We searched MEDLINE (PubMed, from 1966 to August 2016) and The Cochrane Methodology Register (The Cochrane Library, Issue 8 2016). We hand searched abstract books, reviewed reference lists, and contacted experts. Two reviewers independently screened the references and extracted data. RESULTS: We included 14 studies. Six studies were classified as descriptive (6 of 14, 42.9%) and eight as implementation studies (8 of 14, 57.1%). Six studies reported an updating strategy (6 of 14, 42.9%), six a prioritization process (6 of 14, 42.9%), and two a prioritization criterion (2 of 14, 14.2%). Eight studies focused on SRs (8 of 14, 57.1%), six studies focused on CGs (6 of 14, 42.9%), and none were about HTAs. We identified 76 prioritization criteria that can be applied when prioritizing documents for updating. The most frequently cited criteria were as follows: available evidence (19 of 76, 25.0%), clinical relevance (10 of 76; 13.2%), and users' interest (10 of 76; 13.2%). CONCLUSION: There is wide variability and suboptimal reporting of the methods used to develop and implement processes to prioritize updating of SRs, HTAs, and CGs.
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