Besides health interventions, systematic reviews may examine clinical tests, public health interventions, environmental interventions, Systematic reviews are not limited to medicine and are quite common in all other sciences where data are collected, published in the literature, and an assessment of methodological quality for a precisely defined subject would be helpful.
A systematic review aims to provide a complete, exhaustive summary of current literature relevant to a research question.
Systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials are key in the practice of evidence-based medicine, and a review of existing studies is often quicker and cheaper than embarking on a new study.
They proposed several solutions, including limiting studies in meta-analyses and reviews to registered clinical trials, requiring that original data be made available for statistical checking, paying greater attention to sample size estimates, and eliminating dependence on only published data.
Once these stages are complete, the review may be published, disseminated and translated into practice after being adopted as evidence.
The Cochrane is a group of over 37,000 specialists in healthcare who systematically review randomised trials of the effects of prevention, treatments and rehabilitation as well as health systems interventions.
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Groups like the Campbell Collaboration are promoting the use of systematic reviews in policy-making beyond just healthcare.