Systematic Reviews of Prognostic Research
The number of primary studies evaluating prognostic factors and models is rising per day. Alike for therapies and diagnostic tests, critically summarizing and analyzing the evidence form prognostic studies in a systematic review and meta analysis is beneficial for health care professionals seeking the best evidence. Reviews of prognostic studies are much more challenging because of more variation in questions & designs, specific sources of bias & variation, and more complex statistical meta-analytical models. Several advances regarding the design, critical appraisal and statistical analysis in systematic reviews of prognostic studies, have recently been made. In this online medical course for researchers we discuss and practice how to define your review questions, how to search the literature, how to critically assess the methodological quality of primary prognostic studies, and which statistical methods to use for meta-analyses of the results of primary prognostic studies. The course consists of plenary presentations, small-group discussions, and computer exercises.
By the end of the course, you'll should be able to:
- Explain the rationale for performing a systematic review of prognostic studies
- List the key steps of a systematic review of prognostic studies
- Formulate a focused review question addressing a prognostic problem
- Systematically search the literature
- Critically appraise the evidence from primary prognostic studies
- Formulate the difficulties of meta-analysis of prognostic research
- Meta-analyses of performance of prognostic models
- Meta-analyses of the added value of specific prognostic factors
As this is a university course, it is covered by academic accreditation. Upon passing the final exam, you will receive a recognized certificate from Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht.
Sunday before start date - introduce yourself
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 1 and 2
Wednesday – hand in group assignment 1
Friday – hand in multiple smaller group assignments
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 3 and 4
Monday – peer feedback group assignment 1
Wednesday – peer feedback on multiple smaller group assignments
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 5, 6 and 7
Monday – exam
This course includes an exam, which is the only part of the course that is not online. The exam for the 2016 course will take place on Monday, November 21, 2016 between 9.00 - 10.30h CET. The exam for the 2017 course will take place on December 11, 2017. If you are able and willing to take the exam in Utrecht, the Netherlands, we are available to proctor the exam for you without any costs. If you have to take the exam from a different location, you need a proctor. This proctor may ask you to pay for their expenses. Please read more about proctoring on our specific webpage.
The exam is not compulsory. However, if you want to receive the Course Certificate and the credits, it is obligatory to take the exam. You are allowed to redo the exam once. The re-examination for the 2016 course will take place on December 19, 2016 between 9.00 - 10.30h CET. The re-examination for the 2017 course will take place on January 15, 2018.
To enroll in this course, you need:
- A BSc or MSc degree in biomedical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, medicine or veterinary medicine, or a comparable degree
- Access to the program R
- Knowledge of the course Prognostic Research
- Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing
This is an online course, so you need access to an internet connection in order to be able to follow lectures, complete assignments and communicate with fellow participants. The only part of the course that is not online is the final examination. This course is offered through the MSc Epidemiology program developed by the UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University.
The entire course is also available face-to-face. For more information about this option, please visit the MSc Epidemiology website.