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Systematic Reviews & Other Review Types

What is a Diagnostic Test Accuracy Review?

Provides a summary of test performance based on all available evidence, evaluates the quality of published studies, and accounts for variation in findings between studies.

Source: JBI Reviewers Handbook

Diagnostic Test Accuracy Reviews are best designed for assessing the true evidence from diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) studies.

Other names for a Diagnostic Test Accuracy Review?

DTA Review

How a Diagnostic Test Accuracy Review Differs from a traditional Systematic Review

Timeframe: 12+ Months

Question: Participants index tests to evaluate (may be old or new), target conditions, reference standards or reference  existing diagnostic tests for verification of index test results (there may be more than one reference standard)

Most DTA review questions are comparative and are used to replace an existing test, in addition to another test, or to decide whether another test should be undertaken (triage).

Sources and searches: Comprehensive & rigorous.  Includes a combination of database, grey literature and hand searching to locate published and unpublished literature

Selection: Based on inclusion/exclusion criteria

Appraisal: Critical and rigorous assessment of bias and appraisal using STARD and/or QUADAS-2 or JBI reviewers critical appraisal checklist

Synthesis: Qualitative with Summary of Findings table (SOF) and Quantitative (Meta-Analysis) - varies slightly from a traditional systematic review

*"The Cochrane DTA review structure has three fixed subheadings under the discussion section to guide the interpretation of the results.  The conclusions section is divided into ‘Implications for practice’ and ‘Implications for research.

Source: Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy

Limitations of a Diagnostic Test Accuracy Review

The unfamiliarity of DTA methods and accuracy metrics makes it difficult to convey results to a wide audience.

Results can be misinterpreted.

Temple Attribution

Adapted with permission from Temple University Libraries. https://guides.temple.edu/systematicreviews

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