The role of evidence analysts in creating nutrition management guidelines for inherited metabolic disorders

J Eval Clin Pract. 2015 Dec;21(6):1235-43. doi: 10.1111/jep.12428. Epub 2015 Aug 12.


Rationale, aims and objectives: Evidence and consensus-based guidelines for nutrition management of maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) were developed as part of a project to create nutrition guidelines for inherited metabolic disorders identified through newborn screening. The objective of this study was to describe and evaluate the role of evidence analysts in the systematic review phase of guideline development to improve quality of process and output and inform future guideline development projects.

Methods: Recruitment, training and output of evidence analysts were documented throughout the MSUD project. The role of analysts was to critically review and rate the scientific quality of published literature and abstract pertinent information using quality checklists and abstraction worksheets. A secure, web-based application was developed to standardize the process and establish permanent documentation. Analysts completed a post-project survey on perceptions of their role, training and the evidence analysis process.

Results: Of 23 recruits, 65% (15) completed evidence analyst training; 73% of those (11) participated in the analysis of 98 literature articles. Analysts reviewed a median of four articles (range 1-16) with median productivity of 1.1 articles per month. All analysts surveyed (n = 9) understood their role and agreed that training was adequate; 100% agreed that analyst involvement was critical in developing guidelines for MSUD.

Conclusion: Evidence analysts played a key role in appraising and abstracting evidence to develop nutrition guidelines for MSUD. With critical improvements to the process, particularly more stringent and systematic evaluation and documentation of analyst performance related to productivity and quality, we will continue to recruit, train and support evidence analysts in evidence-based guideline development projects.

Keywords: evidence analysis; evidence analysts; evidence-based; guideline development; inborn errors of metabolism; maple syrup urine disease; nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
  • Humans
  • Maple Syrup Urine Disease / diet therapy*
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diet therapy
  • Nutritionists
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Quality Improvement