GRADE guidelines: 21 part 2. Test accuracy: inconsistency, imprecision, publication bias, and other domains for rating the certainty of evidence and presenting it in evidence profiles and summary of findings tables
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OBJECTIVES: This article provides updated GRADE guidance about how authors of systematic reviews and health technology assessments and guideline developers can rate the certainty of evidence (also known as quality of the evidence or confidence in the estimates) of a body of evidence addressing test accuracy (TA) on the domains imprecision, inconsistency, publication bias, and other domains. It also provides guidance for how to present synthesized information in evidence profiles and summary of findings tables. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We present guidance for rating certainty in TA in clinical and public health and review the presentation of results of a body of evidence regarding tests. RESULTS: Supplemented by practical examples, we describe how raters of the evidence can apply the GRADE domains inconsistency, imprecision, and publication bias to a body of evidence of TA studies. CONCLUSION: Using GRADE in Cochrane and other reviews as well as World Health Organization and other guidelines helped refining the GRADE approach for rating the certainty of a body of evidence from TA studies. Although several of the GRADE domains (e.g., imprecision and magnitude of the association) require further methodological research to help operationalize them, judgments need to be made on the basis of what is known so far.
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