What is the value of a systematic review?

by Dr. Phil on December 18, 2013

My friend Dr. Brad Edwards, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston Texas, is on the editorial board for the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. He recently wrote a short article on the value of systematic reviews. There has been a recent surge in systematic reviews to journals, and I for one am frustrated to see so many of them end with, “There’s not enough evidence for a conclusion.” Rightly so, Dr. Edwards suggests if this is the conclusion to the review, then it shouldn’t be published. Couldn’t agree more. The purpose of a systematic review is to synthesize the literature and pool the data to increase the statistical power; not to tell us that we need more research, which we already know!

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