Guidelines Review Committee Seminars - Reports

Posted on 3 January 2013

Summary of Dr. Lesley Stewart’s presentations at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on December, 13, 2012

On December 13, 2012 Dr. Lesley Stewart, Director of the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) University of York, presented two seminars at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva. Both seminars were well attended: the audience included WHO Technical Officers, other scientists and scientific administrators, as well as WHO interns. 

We reported these landmark seminars on this website in December 2012. Below is a detailed follow-up report on the seminar content by Susan Norris, Guidelines Review Committee Secretariat, WHO Press, World Health Organization.

"The first seminar focused on PROSPERO PROSPERO_Thursday 13 December, 2012 (PDF , 148kb), the international prospective register of systematic review protocols, which is housed at the University of York. First, Dr. Stewart described the York Center for Reviews and Dissemination, including its important role in the development and standardization of systematic review methods, particularly with respect to individual patient data meta-analysis.  She then outlined the history, rationale, basic processes, and current status of PROSPERO. The registry now contains approximately 1000 protocols, representing a small but expanding segment of reviews that are being produced globally. The presentation was followed by questions on the specific data fields in the registry, overlap with the Cochrane Library, and other procedural issues.  There was also discussion of the pros, cons, and feasibility of registering systematic reviews commissioned by WHO.  Susan Norris of the WHO Guideline Review Committee secretariat, is to follow up with an examination of the issues involved in review protocol registration for WHO, and potentially with a proposal for registration of WHO systematic reviews in PROSPERO."

"Dr. Stewart presented a second seminar entitled “Gold Standards and Red Flags” Systematic reviews - Gold standards and red flags _Thursday 13 December, 2012 (PDF , 135kb), in which she discussed some of the commonalities across standards for developing and presenting systematic reviews, including those of the US Institute of Medicine (IOM), the Cochrane Collaboration, and the York Center for Reviews and Dissemination. Several of the major sources of bias in the development of reviews were also discussed, particularly publication bias, wherein studies with negative or null results are less likely to be published. Again, there were numerous questions related to a broad range of potential sources of bias (particularly those arising from observational studies), and how those biases may impact public health recommendations."

The seminars were organized by the World Health Organization’s Guideline Review Committee Secretariat with support from the Centre for Global Health Histories and Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (both University of York). Especial thanks go to the speaker Dr. Stewart and Susan Norris of the World Health Organization.