Issues in interpreting and presenting patient-reported outcomes in Cochrane reviews


Workshop session 2: Wednesday, 14:00-15:30

Workshop category: 

  • Methods for conducting syntheses (including different evidence, searching and information retrieval, statistics, assessing methodological quality)


Date and Location


Wednesday 13 September 2017 - 14:00 to 15:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Gordon Guyatt
Donald Patrick


Target audience

Target audience: 

Review authors

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Learning objectives:
1) List the different alternatives for aggregating across different patient reported outcome (PRO) instruments measuring the same construct as presented in summary of findings tables in Cochrane reviews.
2) Choose an alternative for preparing the summary of findings table.

This workshop will use interactive lecture and small group discussion to address the challenges and potential solutions in analysing and making PROs readily understandable to the audience of Cochrane reviews. These challenges involve making decisions on interpreting magnitude of effect (are differences trivial, small but important, or large). We will introduce approaches to aggregating across different instruments measuring the same construct including the standardised mean difference (the most commonly used approach) and more satisfactory alternatives. Some of these alternatives are based on the concept of the minimal important difference (MID: the smallest difference that would motivate a patient to use an intervention), and allow the dichotomisation of continuous outcomes (e.g. the proportion of patients who achieve a MID). During the workshop issues will arise for discussion in breakout group. At the end of each of these breakout sessions each group will report back with the group’s conclusions. This workshop will prepare participants for a second workshop that will focus on the application of presentations approaches that rely on the MID.