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Methods of Evaluating Screening

Warwick Screening have a focus on systematic review methods used to synthesise evidence for national policy-makers.

Methods of Evaluating changes to Existing Screening Programmes

This NIHR funded project led by Dr Sian Taylor-Phillips aims to develop systematic review methods to use when evaluating screening programmes that we already run, such as screening for breast, cervical or colorectal cancer. It is important to continue to evaluate these programmes, so that we can decide which tests to use, who to invite for screening and how often. The benefits and harms of such programmes can increase or decrease over time, for example as treatment advances, meaning evaluating changes can be complex. This project combines systematic reviews of current methods with expert opinion and synthesis to provide guidance in this complex area.

blood spotThe Newborn Blood Spot Test

Our review of how national decision-makers decide which conditions to include in the newborn blood spot test was published by the BMJ. We found that critical evidence about test accuracy was not considered in 42% of reviews, and the potential for overdiagnosis not considered in 76%. When a systematic review was used the decision-makers were less likely to recommend screening. We have reviewed clinical and cost-effectiveness of screening for conditions such as Tyrosinaemia and Long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (LCHAD) for the UK National Screening Committee, along with reviewing the ethical, social and legal issues with expanding the newborn bloodspot test.

 

Rapid Review Methods

Warwick Screening delivers both systematic and rapid reviews of research evidence for policy-makers. We aim to constantly evaluate what we are do, and one focus of that is rapid review methods. Previously, in a single centre case study, we compared the comprehensive rapid review methods used by the UK National Screening Committee with more basic rapid review methods, and systematic review. The findings are published in Research Synthesis Methods. We are extending our work in this area to larger studies.