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Inj Prev. 2007 August; 13(4): 219.
PMCID: PMC2598332

On systematic reviews

More than 30 years ago the epidemiologic pioneer, Archie Cochrane, highlighted the lack of an adequate knowledge base for many healthcare interventions. He drew attention to the need for evidence from rigorously designed studies to inform policy makers, practitioners, and service users.1 His ideas contributed to the development of the evidence‐based medicine movement and to the Cochrane Collaboration. Today systematic reviews are accepted as essential tools for objectively summarizing evidence, informing policy and practice, demonstrating areas where there is a lack of adequate evidence, and highlighting priorities for future research.

Since its inception, Injury Prevention has given high priority to the publication of systematic reviews. Accordingly, such reviews have been published on a wide range of injuries and interventions including those involving adolescents,2 children,3,4,5,6 traffic calming,7 safe storage of firearms,8 softball‐related injuries,9 childhood poisoning,10 and legislation to increase helmet use.11 Many of these reviews have clear implications for policy and practice, although most highlight a dearth of evidence and the need for further rigorous research.

Injury Prevention's regular Cochrane Corner column highlights systematic reviews and meta‐analyses published under the umbrella of the Cochrane Injuries Group. Cochrane reviews are drawn to the attention of policy makers and practitioners to inform evidence‐based injury prevention, and to the attention of researchers to identify areas where further work is needed. However, knowing “what works” does not necessarily translate into implementing injury prevention in the real world. The journal has drawn attention to the long, and often slow, process of putting evidence into practice to achieve injury reduction.12 This is an on‐going task that will, as Mallonee and colleagues suggest, require commitment from researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. It will also require journals to recognize the importance of, and be committed to, publishing high‐quality implementation research. Injury Prevention is keen to respond to this challenge and encourages authors to do likewise.

References

1. Cochrane A L. Effectiveness and efficiency: random reflections on the health service. London: Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust, 1972 [PubMed]
2. Munro J, Coleman P, Nicholl J. et al Can we prevent accidental injury to adolescents? A systematic review of the evidence. Inj Prev 1995. 1249–255.255 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
3. Towner E, Dowswell T, Jarvis S. Updating the evidence. A systematic review of what works in preventing childhood unintentional injuries: Part 1, Inj Prev 2001. 7161–164.164 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
4. Towner E, Dowswell T, Jarvis S. Updating the evidence. A systematic review of what works in preventing childhood unintentional injuries: Part 2. Inj Prev 2001. 7249–253.253 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
5. Bruce B, McGrath P. Group interventions for the prevention of injuries in young children: a systematic review. Inj Prev 2005. 11143–147.147 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
6. Spinks A, Turner C, McClure R. et al Community based prevention programs targeting all injuries for children. Inj Prev 2004. 10180–185.185 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
7. Bunn F, Collier T, Frost C. et al Traffic calming for the prevention of road traffic injuries: systematic review and meta‐analysis. Inj Prev 2003. 9200–204.204 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
8. McGee K S, Coyne‐Beasley T, Johnson R M. Review of evaluations of educational approaches to promote safe storage of firearms. Inj Prev 2003. 9108–111.111 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
9. Pollack K M, Canham‐Chervak M, Gazal‐Carvalho C. et al Interventions to prevent softball related injuries: a review of the literature. Inj Prev 2005. 11277–281.281 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
10. Nixon J, Spinks A, Turner C. et al Community based programs to prevent poisoning in children 0–15 years. Inj Prev 2004. 1043–46.46 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
11. Markhaneh M, Kalenga J‐C, Hagel B E. et al Effectiveness of bicycle helmet legislation to increase helmet use: a systematic review. Inj Prev 2006. 1276–82.82 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
12. Mallonee S, Fowler C, Istre G R. Bridging the gap between research and practice: a continuing challenge. Inj Prev 2006. 12357–359.359 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Injury Prevention are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group