OBJECTIVE: Cochrane systematic reviews require more methodological support from Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) than is customary in journals, CRGs must prioritise reviews to conserve resources. The TRIP database provided a dataset of questions to guide prioritization for the Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) CRG.
STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We extracted the ARI searches from the TRIP database (2010 to 2017) that contained at least one disease and one clinical management term, (defined as a 'search'), and tabulated these by frequency.
RESULTS: There were 314,346 ARI searches from which we inferred 45,497 clinical questions, covering 365 topics. In two thirds (30,541) these addressed only 20 clinical questions, of which treatment were the most frequent; followed by diagnosis, mortality and prognosis. The 5 most frequent clinical questions were "Influenza + Vaccination" 4,989 (12.1%), "acute otitis media + antibiotics" 3578 (8.7%), "common cold + vitamin C" 3528 (8.6%), "meningitis + corticosteroids" 1,910 (4.6%), "pneumonia + general treatment" 1765 (4.3%). The 20 most frequent clinical questions were addressed by Cochrane reviews or protocols.
CONCLUSION: ARI questions are common and repeated often. Most may have been addressed by Cochrane reviews. The remainder form the basis of a priority list to assign resources for future Cochrane topics.