James O. Sanders, MD
Evidence-Based Medicine Committee Chair
The Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) Committee is a new committee working to develop expertise in the society to perform systematic reviews and assist the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) in developing evidence-based materials such as practice guidelines, Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) and also to help define research priorities by identifying important gaps in our knowledge.
Systematic reviews differ from typical reviews, in that all of the articles are graded based on the strength of their evidence, and the best available evidence is used to direct the conclusions. Articles with higher levels of evidence are less likely than lower level studies to have significant confounding factors and biases. Where possible, the data from these better articles is pulled out (abstracted) to actually put numbers to the conclusions.
Our maiden project is child and adolescent spondylolysis. We have identified over 1000 articles dealing with the issue but have whittled that to a much more manageable number by eliminating review articles and case reports. We are in the process of pulling the data from these to identify what we actually know from our literature about the topic in terms of the etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. We find we have to even deal with such basics as “what is a spondylolysis?”
Our goal is to have the systematic review completed this year. Once we identify areas of significant knowledge deficiency, these will be sent back to leadership for their consideration in future directed research. We should be able to tackle another topic this next year and continue to develop this new expertise in our members.
Chair: James O. Sanders, MD Committee Members: David W. Polly Jr., MD; Shay Bess, MD; Jacob M. Buchowski, MD, MS; Charles H. Crawford III, MD; Justin S. Smith, MD, PhD; Michael G. Vitale, MD, MPH; Douglas C. Burton, MD; Serena S. Hu, MD.