More evidence supporting the systematic review

Frequent EBL readers are well aware of the importance we put on systematic reviews, studies that synthesize many articles on a given topic and draw a conclusion about what the body of evidence shows.

So we were excited this week to stumble across a paper funded by the Milbank Memorial Fund and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control extolling the virtues of the systematic review for improving health across populations – especially for our policymakers.

The paper includes case studies on a wide range of topics — underage drinking, tobacco use and traffic safety interventions, to name a few.

And it draws the following conclusions about systematic reviews, in general:

  • Policymakers should feel confident about the findings of systematic reviews because, by definition, they help reduce the bias often present in single studies.
  • Systematic reviews help policymakers work efficiently and reduce the influence of outside interests.
  • Researchers in all fields must make strategic efforts to publicize and implement review findings. (Here at EBL, we’re doing our best in this area!)
  • Enhancing the “literacy” of decision makers and the public about the strengths and weaknesses of different types of evidence can help improve population health policy.

So there you have it: More evidence in support of the systematic review.  The next time you’re thinking about making a health decision, considering checking the body of evidence. Just Google “systematic review” along with the topic you’re interested in and see what you can find.


  1. I would love to get a more indepth look at the study you mention being released from Milbank Memorial Fund and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. I would like to come to a greater understaning of the systematic review process for my own research in the addiction areana.


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