Professor Richard Riley is part of an international group of eminent systematic review methodologists that have developed guidelines for reporting Individual Participant Data (IPD) systematic reviews:
Stewart L, Clarke M, Rovers M, Riley RD et al. Preferred Reporting Items for a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Individual Participant Data. The PRISMA-IPD statement. JAMA. 2015;313(16):1657-1665.
Meta-analysis methods in systematic reviews combine the quantitative evidence across related studies to produce results based on a whole body of research, and as such they are an integral part of evidence-based medicine. Traditional methods for meta-analysis synthesise aggregate data (summary data) obtained from study publications or study authors, such as a treatment effect estimate (e.g. an odds ratio) and its associated uncertainty (e.g. a standard error or confidence interval). An alternative and increasingly popular approach is the meta-analysis of individual participant data (IPD), or individual patient data, where the raw individual-level data are obtained for each study and used for synthesis. IPD is now more frequently provided by study authors for meta-analysis and IPD systematic reviews are gaining popularity. However, guidance is needed on how to conduct and report this new, evolving type evidence.
In this article, the original PRISMA statement, which refers to reporting traditional systematic reviews and meta-analyses, is extended to provide guidelines for how to report a systematic review and meta-analysis that use IPD. These include crucial additions in regard how the IPD was obtained, checked and analysed, and how studies not providing IPD were incorporated (if at all). The guidelines should improve the transparency and impact of IPD meta-analyses in the future.
For those interested in knowing more about IPD meta-analysis, Professor Riley is running a training course on "An Introduction to Statistical Methods for IPD Meta-Analysis" on 2nd and 3rd December at Keele University. Please email Richard for further information.
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