Choosing Important Health Outcomes for Comparative Effectiveness Research: An Updated Review and Identification of Gaps

Sarah L Gorst, Elizabeth Gargon, Mike Clarke, Valerie Smith, Paula R Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
207 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: The COMET (Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials) Initiative promotes the development and application of core outcome sets (COS), including relevant studies in an online database. In order to keep the database current, an annual search of the literature is undertaken. This study aimed to update a previous systematic review, in order to identify any further studies where a COS has been developed. Furthermore, no prioritization for COS development has previously been undertaken, therefore this study also aimed to identify COS relevant to the world's most prevalent health conditions.

METHODS: The methods used in this updated review followed the same approach used in the original review and the previous update. A survey was also sent to the corresponding authors of COS identified for inclusion in this review, to ascertain what lessons they had learnt from developing their COS. Additionally, the COMET database was searched to identify COS that might be relevant to the conditions with the highest global prevalence.

RESULTS: Twenty-five reports relating to 22 new studies were eligible for inclusion in the review. Further improvements were identified in relation to the description of the scope of the COS, use of the Delphi technique, and the inclusion of patient participants within the development process. Additionally, 33 published and ongoing COS were identified for 13 of the world's most prevalent conditions.

CONCLUSION: The development of a reporting guideline and minimum standards should contribute towards future improvements in development and reporting of COS. This study has also described a first approach to identifying gaps in existing COS, and to priority setting in this area. Important gaps have been identified, on the basis of global burden of disease, and the development and application of COS in these areas should be considered a priority.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168403
Number of pages14
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2016


  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Databases, Factual
  • Delphi Technique
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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