Intended for healthcare professionals


A core set of trial outcomes for every medical discipline?

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 26 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h85
  1. Walter Koroshetz, acting director
  1. 1National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda 20892, ML, USA

An important step towards truly meaningful “big data”

The linked article by Ioannidis and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.h72) asks two important questions: should each medical discipline reach a consensus on whether certain outcomes are important regardless of which intervention is being tested? And, once these are established, should there be a requirement that trials routinely collect information and report this set of core outcomes in a standardized fashion?1

The authors examined all available systematic reviews of treatments in premature infants and found what they consider to be “errors of omission” of respiratory outcomes in a large percentage of systemic reviews and clinical studies. To simplify, the authors argue that even though there are a host of clinical research questions that need answers to improve the care of premature infants, respiratory outcomes are so important that they should be included in all studies, whether the focus is on nutritional, endocrine, neurological, hematological, or other body systems.

The generic issue of establishing and requiring core outcomes to enable combination of data from multiple studies is critical. The message is similar to the one fashioned by the Core Outcome Measures …

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