Background: When multiple interventions are available for managing the same disease or condition, network meta-analysis (NMA) using direct and indirect comparisons may provide optimal estimates of their relative effectiveness. The best approaches to presentation and interpretation of NMA results for users, however, remain uncertain.
Objectives: To develop NMA-'Summary of findings' (SoF) tables that display the most important aspects of NMA results.
Methods:Principles of fundamental qualitative description informed processes to develop and pilot NMA-SoF tables. We conducted 3 rounds of interviews. Following development, the NMA-SoF table was presented to a purposeful sample of 10 clinicians, each of whom had used a meta-analysis or NMA at least once in the previous year to answer research or clinical questions related to patient healthcare. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain feedback on the positive and negative aspects of the table. Data were analysed using conventional content analysis. After each round, we modified the NMA-SoF table based on feedback. A refined version of the NMA-SoF table was presented to a new set of 10 users in a subsequent round. The definitive table will emerge from the third round of feedback.
Results: At the end of this study, we will have one or more formats of NMA-SoF tables that summarise the NMA results that users find friendly and informative.
Conclusions: Effective presentation can increase the usability and help health professionals make better-informed decisions. Our work is aimed at developing optimal formats for NMA-SoFs.