Making the CASE for EBM: Critical Appraisal of Summaries of Evidence
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OBJECTIVES: Standards for evaluating evidence-based medicine (EBM) point-of-care (POC) summaries of research are lacking. The authors developed a "Critical Appraisal for Summaries of Evidence" (CASE) worksheet to help assess the evidence in these tools. The authors then evaluated the reliability of the worksheet. METHODS: The CASE worksheet was developed with 10 questions covering specificity, authorship, reviewers, methods, grading, clarity, citations, currency, bias, and relevancy. Two reviewers independently assessed a random selection of 384 EBM POC summaries using the worksheet. The responses of the raters were then compared using a kappa score. RESULTS: The kappa statistic demonstrated an overall moderate agreement (κ = 0.44) between the reviewers using the CASE worksheet for the 384 summaries. The 3 categories of evaluation questions in which the reviewers disagreed most often were citations (κ = 0), bias (κ = 0.11), and currency (κ = -0.18). CONCLUSIONS: The CASE worksheet provided an effective checklist for critically analyzing a treatment summary. While the reviewers agreed on worksheet responses for most questions, variation occurred in how the raters navigated the tool and interpreted some of the questions. Further validation of the form by other groups of users should be investigated.
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