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EVIDENCE-BASED-HEALTH  July 2005

EVIDENCE-BASED-HEALTH July 2005

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Subject:

Re: Level of Evidence Assistance

From:

Martin Dawes <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Martin Dawes <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 10 Jul 2005 15:44:19 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (190 lines)

A case series, such as the single case of cimetidine causing confusion in 
the elderly, can be the best level of evidence and later be proved correct 
through case control studies. The point is would you stop all use of  a drug 
on the basis of a single case - the clinical decision making is aided by 
levels of evidence. It is one way of assessing the evidence BUT it is only 
that - a way of assessing evidence. Before making clinical recommendations 
one takes into consideration multiple other aspects inlcuding trial validity 
that you alluded to.

However a novice faced with evidence needs some sort of structure or 
framework to help them place the study in context to other work. LOE are a 
major aid to teaching about research and this sort of discussion that is 
occuring on the list is excellent when held in small groups looking at 
evidence.

There are no simple solutions

Martin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dr Paul Montgomery" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, July 09, 2005 1:43 PM
Subject: Re: Level of Evidence Assistance


>  The problem I have with these sorts of evidence hierarchies is that once 
> you go below an RCT, how to prioritise? It seems to me that depending on 
> the nature of the question posed, it may be that a cohort study with 
> perhaps historical controls could actually be better than a sloppy 
> case-control study where the controls were contemporaneous. And as we 
> progress down the hierarchy, things seem to get murkier and 
> murkier.............
>
>  Or am I missing something?
>
>  Paul
>
>  Dr Paul Montgomery
>  Departmental Lecturer in Evidence Based Intervention
>  University of Oxford
>  Barnett House
>  Wellington Square
>  Oxford
>  OX1 2ER
>
>  ----- Original Message ----- 
>  From: "Paul Glasziou" <[log in to unmask]>
>  To: <[log in to unmask]>
>  Sent: Saturday, July 09, 2005 10:01 AM
>  Subject: Re: Level of Evidence Assistance
>
>
>  > Brian,
>  > I agree simplicity - as simple as possible but no simpler.
>  > Can I raise two concerns about SORT?
>  > 1. The "levels" don't have any guide as to what types of evidence would
>  > constitute "likely reliable" evidence. A main advance of EBM was its
>  > explicitness about what did and didn't qualify as good evidence, so 
> this
>  > seems a step back to pre-EBM days.
>  > 2. Recommendations are focused on *action* not  just evidence. That 
> depends
>  > on the size of benefits and harms plus the quality of evidence about 
> them.
>  > For example, a harmful treatment with high quality consistent evidence 
> of
>  > this (e.g. Class I antiarrthymics) should get the lowest possible 
> rating
>  > (e.g, a D).
>  > Cheers
>  > Paul Glasziou
>  >
>  > At 03/07/2005, Brian S. Alper MD, MSPH wrote:
>  >>The CEBM criteria are the most prominently used among the core group of
>  >>EBMers.  They are very detailed.
>  >>
>  >>The SORT criteria are more recently introduced (February 2004) and have
>  >>the advantages (and disadvantages) of simplicity.  For practicing
>  >>clinicians, the SORT criteria seem easier to interpret.
>  >>
>  >>To facilitate interpretation of level of evidence grading by practicing
>  >>clinicians who may not take the time to read about the underlying 
> rules,
>  >>the DynaMed Editors chose to use the SORT criteria and add brief 
> phrasing:
>  >>
>  >>level 1 (likely reliable) evidence
>  >>level 2 (mid-level) evidence
>  >>level 3 (lacking direct) evidence
>  >>
>  >>grade A recommendation (consistent high-quality evidence)
>  >>grade B recommendation (inconsistent or limited evidence)
>  >>grade C recommendation (lacking direct evidence)
>  >>
>  >>We have not formally studied the result, but it appears to be going
>  >>well.  From the perspective of processing information for a clinical
>  >>reference, distinguishing evidence as level 1 (likely reliable) vs. 
> level
>  >>2 (mid-level) appears more useful than purely distinguishing evidence 
> by
>  >>study type.
>  >>
>  >>In this model, level 1 labels require the best study type within a
>  >>category (e.g. randomized trial for treatment, inception cohort study 
> for
>  >>prognosis) PLUS meeting a set of quality criteria for that study
>  >>type.  Other rating systems typically require quality criteria for
>  >>randomized trials to get the level 1 rating, but the SORT criteria 
> provide
>  >>more details for this than some other systems.
>  >>
>  >>The Delfini system is an excellent system as well.  We chose SORT in 
> part
>  >>because of the potential for wide acceptance, as it was created by 
> mutiple
>  >>leading journals in family medicine in the US working together and
>  >>agreeing to use it.
>  >>
>  >>There are other approaches (such as the efforts of the GRADE working
>  >>group) trying to collaboratively develop the "standard" for a level of
>  >>evidence system for many to use, but these efforts have to deal with 
> the
>  >>tensions between using a small number of levels vs. a large number of
>  >>levels, and exactness/detail-level vs. simplicity.  In addition, 
> different
>  >>frames for what is being measured (studies vs. collections of studies 
> vs.
>  >>recommendations) and different target audiences (practicing clinicians 
> vs.
>  >>researchers vs. guideline developers) complicate the decision-making 
> for
>  >>choosing an ideal level of evidence rating system.
>  >>
>  >>
>  >>Getting back to the original question for this post, regarding how to 
> rate
>  >>a systematic review with one randomized trial and many non-randomized
>  >>studies, here are some additional considerations:
>  >>
>  >>The rules may vary with different labeling systems.
>  >>
>  >>A system could allow a systematic review which includes a randomized 
> trial
>  >>to get a level 1 rating (or whatever the highest rating is in that
>  >>system), but this could be misleading if applied indiscriminately.
>  >>
>  >>The level of evidence would most accurately be applied if based on the
>  >>outcome and the data for that outcome---this could results in different
>  >>levels of evidence being reported for different outcomes mention in the
>  >>same systematic review.
>  >>
>  >>A systematic review that covers high-quality and low-quality evidence, 
> and
>  >>finds consistent high-quality evidence to support an outcome, could
>  >>appropriately give that outcome the highest level of evidence rating.
>  >>
>  >>If the support for an outcome is completely based on low-quality 
> evidence,
>  >>then the level of evidence should not be the highest rating, regardless 
> of
>  >>the quantity of studies involvved.
>  >>
>  >>If the support for an outcome is completely based on low-quality 
> evidence,
>  >>then the level of evidence should not be the highest rating, regardless 
> of
>  >>the quality of the systematic review.  A systematic review could be 
> very
>  >>high quality but find limited evidence.  The quality of the systematic
>  >>review cannot change the quality of the underlying evidence.
>  >>
>  >>
>  >>
>  >>Brian S. Alper MD, MSPH
>  >>Editor-in-Chief, DynaMed (http://www.DynamicMedical.com)
>  >>Founder and Medical Director, Dynamic Medical Information Systems, LLC
>  >>3610 Buttonwood Drive, Suite 200
>  >>Columbia, MO 65201
>  >>(573) 886-8907
>  >>fax (573) 886-8901
>  >>home (573) 447-0705
>  >>"It only takes a pebble to start an avalanche."
>  >
>  > Paul Glasziou
>  > Department of Primary Health Care &
>  > Director, Centre for Evidence-Based Practice, Oxford
>  > ph: 44-1865-227055  www.cebm.net
>  >
> 

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