Many Cochrane reviews compare more than two interventions, either implicitly or explicitly. Principled methods have been developed for analysing such networks so that both direct evidence from head-to-head comparisons and indirect evidence from studies with common comparators can be utilized.
The Comparing Multiple Interventions Methods Group (CMIMG) has received funding from the Cochrane Methods Innovation Fund to set up three working groups to address specific issues related to these comparisons.
- Group 1 - fundamental issues associated with the initiation and logistics of undertaking, publishing and maintaining reviews of multiple interventions
- Group 2 - statistical methods associated with such reviews; and
- Group 3 - interpreting evidence from reviews including assessment of risk of bias and presenting a summary of findings table.
The project involves three meetings to bring together investigators, methodologists, authors, consumers, managing editors and other interested parties to help CMIMG develop consensus guidance for carrying out reviews of multiple interventions.
The primary outputs of the full project will include a report with recommendations and considerations for Cochrane Review Groups, material for the Cochrane Handbook and a decision chart for deciding between different review formats. These will be posted online and actively disseminated through (i) notifications of Handbook updates; (ii) articles in Cochrane News or Cochrane Methods.
Group 1: Fundamental issues associated with the initiation and logistics of undertaking, publishing and maintaining reviews of multiple interventions
A Group 1 meeting was held in Paris on April 19, 2012. Minutes, slides and a background paper from that meeting are available on this page.
Group 2: Statistical methods associated reviews that compare multiple intereventions
The Group 2 meeting was held by Group 2 in Bristol, UK on July 16 and 17, 2013. Minutes, slides and a background paper from that meeting are available on this page.
Group 3: Interpreting evidence from reviews including assessment of risk of bias and presenting a summary of findings table.
A Group 3 meeting is being planned for the spring or 2014
For a list of the things the 3 groups have produced up to this point, please see Comparing Multiple Interventions in Cochrane Reviews