The question of updating systematic reviews, which synthesize relevant research around a particular question, was the subject of an expert panel organized by the Cochrane network, proceedings of which were published in BMJ. The panel deliberated questions regarding the resources needed to update a review and ways resources must be balanced by the benefits of the new information provided. Finding the right balance is important because making health care decisions requires access to summaries of the most current evidence, but there are limited resources and many questions. The panel developed a decision framework to determine the currency of a review or whether review needs to be updated. The panel provided guidance for updating reviews. The expert panel included Stephanie Chang, M.D., director of AHRQ’s Evidence-based Practice Center program, which sponsors numerous systematic reviews and updates.
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