Cochrane Workshop 2023: Basic Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis, and Introduction to Network Meta-Analysis

Programme Duration: 07 to 10 July 2023 and 10 to 13 July 2023

Venue: Zoom (Online)

Organiser: Cochrane Singapore, National University Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI)

In collaboration with Cochrane Singapore and National University Singapore (NUS), the Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI) Epidemiology team conducted two virtual workshops titled “Basic Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” (10 – 13 Jul 2023) and “Introduction to Network Meta-Analysis” (17 – 20 Jul 2023).

Cochrane Singapore supports the mission of the UK-based Cochrane global network with a shared commitment to maintain high quality information to enhance healthcare knowledge and decision-making. This annual course is applicable for researchers, clinical professionals and policy makers across the scope of medicine, health policy, research methodology or consumer advocacy.

The course aims to equip professionals in producing high-quality research data using the Cochrane method of systematic reviews and analysis.

The trainers, representatives of Cochrane Singapore, are primarily Epidemiologists from SCRI whose wider research work also spans into the areas of health economics and outcomes research (HEOR). They have vast experience supporting research projects in public healthcare in areas such as diabetics management, primary care and health technology assessment (HTA) to name a few.

HEOR is a relatively new area but it has potential for far-reaching positive impact on public health because it is based on real-world evidence. HEOR assesses the affordability and sustainability of health expenditure and draws links between treatment and actual outcomes in research patient cohorts to drive evidence-based guidance on how to improve care at scale.

Basic Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Workshop (10 – 13 July 2023)

The Basic Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis Workshop was attended by 42 participants from both public and private healthcare institutes, academic and research organisations. At this workshop, participants learnt the ropes of how to conduct basic systematic review, and develop focused question using the PICO method. They also learnt skills on how to apply a systematic literature search strategy, assess the risk bias of research studies, as well as how to conduct meta-analysis by using a Review Manager.

In addition, participants also grasped essential skills such as how to manage study heterogeneity and interpret the results using Forest Plot and Summary of Findings (SoF) tables.

They received abundant tips on how to produce high-quality synthesised evidence research which will benefit the stakeholders they collaborate with, to enable decision-making for improved health outcomes.

Epidemiologist Dr Guo Liang, SCRI and Staff Member, Cochrane Singapore (Trainer), explaining the importance of systematic reviews.

Epidemiologist Dr Julie Zhu, SCRI and Staff Member, Cochrane Singapore (Trainer), demonstrated how to search for evidence in PubMed and Cochrane Library.

Head Epidemiologist Dr Shi Luming, SCRI and Deputy Director, Cochrane Singapore (Trainer), shared about the steps involved during a Cochrane Systematic Review.

Introduction to Network Meta-Analysis (17 – 20 July 2023)

This advanced workshop was attended by 14 participants, some of whom attended the Basic workshop in the previous week. This session was targeted to help participants develop further skills on how to conduct a Network Meta-Analysis (NMA).

NMA is a statistical technique used in medical research to compare and rank multiple interventions for a specific medical condition. It is a powerful tool for evidence synthesis in healthcare, which will guide healthcare professionals in making evidence-based informed decisions on the most appropriate treatment plan for patients based on high-quality research evidence.

Apart from the theoretical sharing, participants also had the opportunity to learn hands-on techniques for NMA and practise using the software tool to do the network meta-analysis for binary and continuous outcomes.

On the last day of the workshop, the trainers also demonstrated and guided a practical exercise on Confidence in Network Meta-Analysis (CINeMA) to evaluate the certainty of evidence for NMA.

The NMA Workshop is an extension of direct pair-wise meta-analysis, which synthesises evidence from both direct and indirect comparisons to estimate and rank clinical effectiveness of three or more interventions.

Senior Epidemiologist, Dr Yoko Wong, SCRI and Staff Member, Cochrane Singapore (Trainer), guided the participants on how to use Stata to conduct NMA for a binary outcome.

A/Prof Edwin Chan, Chief Scientific Officer, SCRI and Director, Cochrane Singapore, addressing the questions raised by the participants on the concept of NMA.

We thank all participants for their enthusiasm and look forward to next year’s intake. Click here to find out more about Cochrane Singapore.

This event is jointly presented by Cochrane Singapore, Singapore Clinical Research Institute and NUHS Research Support Unit – Systematic Review.

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