Generalizability of findings from systematic reviews and meta-analyses in the Leading General Medical Journals

Ref ID 175
First Author A. Malmivaara
Year Of Publishing 2020
Keywords Multiplicity
General medical
Low reporting quality
Problem(s) Lack of prespecification in eligibility criteria
Individual study characteristics not reported sufficiently
Multiplicity of outcomes and lack of pre-specification for outcome reporting
Ignores setting or context of included studies which limits review applicability
Failure to consider equity, different socioeconomic groups or disadvantaged populations
Number of systematic reviews included 115
Summary of Findings None of the 115 included systematic reviews published in leading general medical journals from 2016 to February 2019 assessed how patients were selected to the study; 35% reported relevant clinical features; 25% comorbid conditions; and 21% patients’ behavioural factors. Functioning, environmental factors, inequity-related factors; how interventions were carried out; how well the patients were followed-up; and the adequacy of statistical analyses were reported in only 0–9% of the systematic reviews. In conclusion, the reporting of study characteristics in the systematic reviews does not make it possible to assess how similar the different studies had been, or to which patients these study findings could be generalized.
Did the article find that the problem(s) led to qualitative changes in interpretation of the results? Not Applicable
Are the methods of the article described in enough detail to replicate the study? No