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The XVIth Cochrane Colloquium in Freiburg

The Cochrane Collaboration’s XVIth Cochrane Colloquium in Freiburg, Germany

Donald Patrick, PhD, MSPH
1| Gordon Guyatt, PhD 2
1 University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
 2 McMaster University , hamilton, Ontario, Canada



The Cochrane PRO Methods Group, at the XVI meeting in Freiburg, adopted a schedule of activities for 2009-2010. Based on the Chapter prepared by the Co-Convenors for the Cochrane Handbook and work by Member Caroline Terwee, we are preparing systematic reviews of PROs that are available to each relevant Cochrane Review Group. These systematic reviews of PROs will also be available on the Cochrane PRO website. Members of the PRO MG will assist in providing any consultation to the Review Groups on PROs in their on-going and planned reviews, including how

to search and evaluate PROs in their particular area of interest. Workshops are being planned for the XVII meeting in Singapore with emphasis on how to incorporate PROs into Cochrane Reviews.

In collaboration with the Applicability and Recommendations Methods Group, we are exploring alternative methods for making the results of analysis of PROs more easily interpretable for consumers of Cochrane reviews. Interpretability represents a particular problem when patient-level data from individual studies is unavailable to reviewers (almost always the case) and when investigators have used different instruments to measure the same construct (often the case) and thus studies report results in different units.
Investigators can report results in standard deviation units using guidelines for small, medium and large effects suggested and popularized by Cohen. Limitations include possible differences in heterogeneity of populations in individual studies, and clinicians' unfamiliarity with standard
deviation units.

A second approach is to backtranslate these effect sizes into the natural units of the most popular of the measures used in the individual trials.


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