One in 11 Cochrane Reviews Are on Rehabilitation Interventions, According to Pragmatic Inclusion Criteria Developed by Cochrane Rehabilitation

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Aug;100(8):1492-1498. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2019.01.021. Epub 2019 Mar 2.


Objective: To identify all published protocols and reviews in the Cochrane Library relevant to the scope of practice of rehabilitation; to test pragmatic criteria to identify rehabilitation interventions; to begin categorizing reviews according to the professionals involved in delivering the intervention and broad areas of clinical practice.

Data sources: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Study selection: We screened all published reviews and protocols in the Cochrane library.

Data extraction: We built an online relational database into which we imported titles and abstracts of all reviews and protocols published in the Cochrane Library from 1996 to August 2018. We recruited rehabilitation professionals worldwide through Cochrane Rehabilitation's social media to find and tag rehabilitation reviews in this database. One rehabilitation physician and 1 allied health professional independently tagged each title against prespecified criteria. The Cochrane Rehabilitation Review Committee examined disagreements between contributors for any uncertainties about how to categorize a review. We revised and improved our preliminary criteria for identifying rehabilitation interventions as the work progressed.

Data synthesis: We identified that 9.4% of all Cochrane publications (894/9471 reviews and protocols) are directly relevant to the practice of rehabilitation. The professional groups whose interventions were most frequently the subject of rehabilitation reviews and protocols were rehabilitation physicians and physical therapists. We also identified a final list of inclusion and exclusion criteria for reviews on rehabilitation interventions.

Conclusion: Many Cochrane Reviews are directly relevant to rehabilitation. Cochrane needs to consider the rehabilitation community a major stakeholder in all its work. The pragmatic criteria we tested are offered for future discussions on the identification and categorization of rehabilitation interventions by stakeholders worldwide. This work will support the spread of content from the Cochrane Library to rehabilitation professionals and guide future research.

Keywords: Classification; Crowdsourcing; Evidence-based medicine; Evidence-based practice; Rehabilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Rehabilitation*
  • Review Literature as Topic*