OBJECTIVE: Cochrane acute respiratory infections (ARIs) group conducts systematic reviews of the evidence for treatment and prevention of ARIs. We report the results of a prioritization project, aiming to identify highest priority systematic review topics.
STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: The project consisted of two phases. Phase 1 analyzed the gap between existing randomized controlled trials and Cochrane systematic reviews (reported previously). Phase 2 (reported here) consisted of a two-round survey. In round 1, respondents prioritized 68 topics and suggested up to 10 additional topics; in round 2, respondents prioritized top 25 topics from round 1.
RESULTS: Respondents included clinicians, researchers, systematic reviewers, allied health, patients, and carers, from 33 different countries. In round 1, 154 respondents identified 20 priority topics, most commonly selecting topics in nonspecific ARIs, influenza, and common cold. Fifty respondents also collectively suggested 134 additional topics. In round 2, 78 respondents prioritized top 25 topics, most commonly in the areas of nonspecific ARIs, pneumonia, and influenza.
CONCLUSION: We generated a list of priority systematic review topics to guide the Cochrane ARI group's systematic review work for the next 24 months. Stakeholder involvement enhanced the transparency of the process and will increase the usability and relevance of the group's work to stakeholders.