Evidence Synthesis NetworkEvidence Synthesis Network – focusing on methodological issues for the synthesis of diverse sources of evidence in healthcare – Launch (a brief overview)

When: Friday April 1st 2011, 12-4pm

Where: Manchester University

Purpose: To promote the lunch of evidence synthesis network (re-launch/re-birth of systematic review network) its aim being to share expertise, training and minimize effort between researchers

There were 6 speakers in total 2 key-note & 4 snapshot presentations. There was also a Q&A session jointly shared by the 2 key-note speakers. I will not repeat presentations word by word, merely summarise highlights. I have attached the Powerpoint  to hopefully give you an overall idea of themes.

Mike Kelly Presentation Evidence Synthesis Network

Key Note Speaker 1 -Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence
Challenges of Evidence Synthesis of Complex Public Health Interventions

Mike discussed:

  • NICE’s role within Public Health evidence provision
  • The methodological principles that govern NICE’s work
  • That methods often work well, Public Health questions or problems that are posed less so! Tackling the issue of Public Health problem versus Public Health Intervention
  • The challenges when applied to Public Health interventions including: breadth of evidence base; absence of good processes; dealing with non-UK data and individual characteristics versus relational characteristics
  • Public Health working as a predictive model of cause (Newton vs. Hobbes)
  • The health gradient
  • Ended with the ‘limitations’ of evidence

Mike Clarke Presentation PDF

Key Note Speaker 2 – Mike Clarke, Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin
Cochrane Reviews: improving usefulness and use

Mike discussed:

  • How Cochrane Reviews can and should be used
  • How evidenced-based health care is just not about randomised trials. Randomised trials and systematic reviews are just 1 component
  • Cochrane Principles
  • Reliable evidence needs to minimise chance and bias
  • By end of 2011 there will be an estimated 5000 Cochrane reviews available
  • New materials and methods such as journal club material and author-podcasts are now being made available
  • Presentation concluded with discussion of ‘evidence-aid’ allowing free access to the data in disaster areas – in an effort to move away from experience based decision making in these circumstances to evidenced based decision making
Question & Answer Session

Some of the questions put to Mike Clarke & Mike Kelly included:

  • role of practitioner-led research
  • research with pharmaceutical industry and the possible need for quality legislation
  • complex methods for synthesising evidence – too exclusive? Is there a need for inclusiveness?
  • and more!

Please click on the snapshot presentation title to view the pdf of the presentation.

Snapshot 1 – Cochrane Review on benefits/risks of fluoride toothpaste by Tanya Walsh
Snapshot 2 – Diagnostic tests: introduction and quality assessment, by Alfred Sackeyfio
Snapshot 3 -A meta-synthesis on the issues of delayed childbearing by Alison Cooke
Snapshot 4 -GRADE: The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation By Toni Tan

The session ended with a roundtable discussion focusing on different questions concerning evidence synthesis and the network moving forward.

Overall this was a really enjoyable and useful session/launch – unfortunately due to the vast amount of information given, time ran a little short, which meant not much ‘networking’ opportunities, but I would encourage everyone to check out the presentations and if possible (and if relevant) attend this.


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