Prevention and self-management interventions are top priorities for osteoarthritis systematic reviews

J Clin Epidemiol. 2013 May;66(5):503-510.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2012.06.017. Epub 2012 Sep 18.


Objective: To identify high-priority research questions for osteoarthritis systematic reviews with consideration of health equity and the social determinants of health (SDH).

Study design and setting: We consulted with experts and conducted a literature search to identify a priority-setting method that could be adapted to address the health equity and SDH. We selected the Global Evidence Mapping priority-setting method, and through consultations and consensus, we adapted the method to meet our objectives. This involves developing an evidence map of the existing systematic reviews on osteoarthritis; conducting one face-to-face workshop with patients and another one with clinicians, researchers, and patients; and conducting an online survey of patients to rank the top 10 research questions. We piloted the adapted method with the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Review Group to set research priorities for osteoarthritis.

Results: Our focus was on systematic reviews: we identified 34 high-priority research questions for osteoarthritis systematic reviews. Prevention and self-management interventions, mainly diet and exercise, are top priorities for osteoarthritis systematic reviews. Evaluation against our predefined objectives showed that this method did prioritize SDH (50% of the research questions considered SDH). There were marked gaps: no high-priority topics were identified for access to care until patients had advanced disease-lifestyle changes once the disease was diagnosed. This method was felt feasible if conducted annually.

Conclusion: We confirmed the utility of an adapted priority-setting method that is feasible and considers SDH. Further testing of this method is needed to assess whether considerations of health equity are prioritized and involve disadvantaged groups of the population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Healthcare Disparities / economics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Osteoarthritis / economics
  • Osteoarthritis / prevention & control*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Research
  • Research Design
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Self Care*
  • Socioeconomic Factors