Systematic review and related evidence-based approaches are beginning to be translated from healthcare to toxicology. They provide transparent, objective, and consistent tools to identify, select, appraise, and extract evidence across studies. Systematic review methodologies provide objectivity and transparency to the process of collecting and synthesizing scientific evidence in reaching conclusions on specific research questions. Procedures are explicitly defined in advance, in order to ensure that the exercise is transparent and can be replicated. This practice is also designed to minimize bias. Systematic review procedures are being adopted by other federal agencies, including EPA and NIEHS.
This workshop will present a framework for systematic review and evidence integration for reaching hazard identification conclusions. General steps used for the systematic review include the following: 1) formulate problem and develop protocol, 2) search for and select studies for inclusion, 3) extract data from selected studies, 4) assess the quality or risk of bias of individual studies, 5) rate the confidence in the body of evidence, 6) translate the confidence ratings into levels of evidence, and 7) integrate the information from different evidence streams (human, animal, and “other relevant data” including mechanistic or in vitro studies) to develop hazard identification conclusions.
Systematic review methods do not supplant the role of expert scientific judgment, public participation, or other existing processes used by federal agencies in the evaluation of environmental substances. Instead, the systematic review methods provide a great strategy for evidence-based decision making in terms of ensuring the collection of the most complete and reliable evidence to form the basis for decisions or conclusions. Knowledge of the quality and confidence in the evidence is essential to decision making. Click on the link above to register.