Since the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials, or CONSORT, guidelines for reporting randomised controlled trials were published in 2010, checklists covering a host of other study designs have been released and are readily available on the Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR) website. These checklists are designed to standardise reporting for different study designs and ensure that the core components for quality are included in publications.
Within this repertoire of reporting guidelines is the preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy studies (PRISMA-DTA), published in 2018 in JAMA. Created as an extension of the original PRISMA guidelines, PRISMA-DTA retains 8 of the original PRISMA statements, with a further 2 new and 17 modified items. Now, an article published in The BMJ provides an accompanying explanation and elaboration of the PRISMA-DTA guidelines to aid with their interpretation and implementation. Designed for use alongside the PRISMA-DTA statement, the article provides illustrative examples for each item along with an explanation of why the item is important for inclusion in publications.
Diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) studies evaluate the ability of a test to detect a prespecified target condition, estimating the test’s sensitivity and specificity. Systematic reviews of DTA studies can provide insights into test performance and allow the accuracy of different tests to be compared. As such, they are an important tool in evidence-based decision making in medicine.
The PRISMA-DTA reporting guidelines represent a minimum set of components to inform readers about the review process and the findings, aiming to improve the completeness and transparency of DTA systematic reviews.
Nevertheless, authors are encouraged to include any additional information needed to facilitate critical appraisal and replicability of the findings. The authors hope that the PRISMA-DTA guidelines will help readers to appraise the quality of DTA systematic reviews and their generalisability, ultimately increasing their usefulness.
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