Assessing the Quality of Evidence Presented at Annual General Meetings: A 5-Year Retrospective Study
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INTRODUCTION: Health care professionals rely on annual general meetings (AGMs) to obtain up-to-date information and practice guidelines relevant to their specialty. The majority of such information at meetings is presented through abstract sessions. However, the quality of the evidence presented during such abstract sessions is unclear. Standardized measures were applied to assess the quality of evidence of abstracts presented at the Canadian Society of Nephrology AGM over a 5-year period. METHODS: Two authors independently reviewed all CSN AGM abstracts presented from 2012 to 2016. Using a schema published in 2011 by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM), each abstract was subsequently ranked based on the quality of evidence. Schema categories ranged from level I, representing the highest evidence quality, to level V, representing the lowest. The number of authors and the authors' institution affiliations were also collected from the abstracts, where available, or if affiliations were unclear, an internet search of the author was performed. RESULTS: Six hundred forty-two articles were screened. In total, 70% (n = 450) met the inclusion criteria. When assessed, 15% of articles were level I (highest quality), 17% level II, 53% level III, 12% level IV, and 3% level V (lowest quality). A Jonckheere-Terpstra test demonstrated a significant trend of increasing quality of evidence (P < .05) and collaboration (P < .005) over the 5-year study period. There was a significant correlation between level of evidence and collaboration across years reviewed in the study, rs(98) = -0.226, P < .001. DISCUSSION: The results indicate a consistent increase in quality of evidence and collaborative submissions over time. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first assessment and analysis of AGM presentation quality within internal medicine and its subspecialties. Documenting and monitoring changes in the quality of evidence with a standardized framework may offer valuable insight pertaining to the medical field and the research community.