UW MSKTC Systematic Review Approach

UW MSKTC collaborated with Model System programs to conduct systematic reviews on high priority health topics to inform clinical practice.

Why conduct systematic reviews?

Practitioners, patients and policy makers all need to keep abreast of the latest medical research, but keeping current with the steady flow of research findings published in hundreds of professional journals every week is extremely difficult, especially when study results conflict, or when study methods are not comparable.

What is a systematic review?

A systematic review is a formal, organized method for compiling, evaluating and summarizing all of the published research evidence related to a specific medical or health topic. Results of a systematic review provide the best information for making decisions about treatment, practice or behavior.

MSKTC Systematic Review Strategy

UW MSKTC follows a 9-step process to produce comprehensive and quality reviews. UW MSKTC also developed systematic review tools and a database with web interface to expedite the creation of tables of evidence.

Step Quality Criteria Participants
1. Topic Selection Participants select topics that are relevant to consumers, practitioners, and researchers, and not adequately or consistently covered in existing systematic reviews. Dissemination Committee
2. Identify Lead Authors Lead authors are selected who have expertise in the topic selected, and have time available to author the systematic review. Dissemination Committee
3. Project Development Plan The project development plan specifies the research and clinical questions, search criteria, and timeline. Lead Authors
4. Literature Search & Article Inclusion Literature databases are searched for articles that meet criteria. An inclusion classification system is developed and articles are classified into inclusion categories based on the abstract. MSKTC Staff & Lead Authors
5. Data Extraction Articles are reviewed in full and data is extracted and entered into a database. MSKTC Staff
6. Evidence Tables & Analysis Data extracted is synthesized into tables of evidence and analyzed by authors. Lead Authors
7. External Review Tables of evidence are reviewed by external reviewers for systematic accuracy and verification of article inclusion. Lead Authors, Dissemination Committee,
8. Committee Review & Publication Article submitted for publication and review. Lead Authors
9a. MSKTC Website Systematic review findings are translated into clinical factsheets, technical reports and if relevant consumer information, and posted on the MSKTC website. MSKTC Staff
9b. MS Network Model Systems Directors are encouraged to disseminate systematic review article and other products. Directors
9c. Peer-Reviewed Journal Systematic review articles are published in peer-reviewed journal. Lead Authors


Key of Participants:

  • Dissemination Committee: Representatives of the Model Systems, including directors, research staff and/or clinical staff
  • Consumer Advisory Group: Individuals with TBI, SCI or burn injuries who advise the model systems of care on issues related to consumers.
  • Content Experts (Lead Authors): Faculty, researchers and/or clinicians within the Model Systems who have expertise in the topic area
  • Directors: Director of each Model System program
  • UW MSKTC Staff: Faculty, information specialist, researchers, and project coordinators