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      Reporting of health estimates prior to GATHER: a scoping review

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          Background: Generating estimates of health indicators at the global, regional, and country levels is increasingly in demand in order to meet reporting requirements for global and country targets, such as the sustainable development goals (SDGs). However, such estimates are sensitive to availability of input data, underlying analytic assumptions, variability in statistical techniques, and often have important limitations. From a user perspective, there is often a lack of transparency and replicability. In order to define best practices in reporting data and methods used to calculate health estimates, the Guidelines for Accurate and Transparent Health Estimates Reporting (GATHER) working group developed a minimum checklist of 18 items that must be reported within each study publishing health estimates, so that users may make an assessment of the quality of the estimate.

          Objective: We conducted a scoping review to assess the state of reporting amongst a cross-sectional sample of studies published prior to the publication of GATHER.

          Methods: We generated a sample of UN reports and journal articles through a combination of a Medline search and hand-searching published health estimates. From these studies we extracted the percentage of studies correctly reporting each item on the checklist, the proportion of items reported per study (the GATHER performance score), and how this score varied depending on study type.

          Results: The average proportion of items reported per study was 0.47, and the poorest-performing items related to documentation and availability of input data, availability of the statistical code used and the subsequent output data, and a complete detailed description of all the steps of the data analysis.

          Conclusions: Methods for health estimates are not currently fully reported, and the implementation of the GATHER guidelines will improve the availability of information required to make an assessment of study quality.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Interrater reliability: the kappa statistic

           Mary L McHugh (2012)
          The kappa statistic is frequently used to test interrater reliability. The importance of rater reliability lies in the fact that it represents the extent to which the data collected in the study are correct representations of the variables measured. Measurement of the extent to which data collectors (raters) assign the same score to the same variable is called interrater reliability. While there have been a variety of methods to measure interrater reliability, traditionally it was measured as percent agreement, calculated as the number of agreement scores divided by the total number of scores. In 1960, Jacob Cohen critiqued use of percent agreement due to its inability to account for chance agreement. He introduced the Cohen’s kappa, developed to account for the possibility that raters actually guess on at least some variables due to uncertainty. Like most correlation statistics, the kappa can range from −1 to +1. While the kappa is one of the most commonly used statistics to test interrater reliability, it has limitations. Judgments about what level of kappa should be acceptable for health research are questioned. Cohen’s suggested interpretation may be too lenient for health related studies because it implies that a score as low as 0.41 might be acceptable. Kappa and percent agreement are compared, and levels for both kappa and percent agreement that should be demanded in healthcare studies are suggested.
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            Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.

            The Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factor study 2013 (GBD 2013) is the first of a series of annual updates of the GBD. Risk factor quantification, particularly of modifiable risk factors, can help to identify emerging threats to population health and opportunities for prevention. The GBD 2013 provides a timely opportunity to update the comparative risk assessment with new data for exposure, relative risks, and evidence on the appropriate counterfactual risk distribution.
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              Reducing waste from incomplete or unusable reports of biomedical research.

              Research publication can both communicate and miscommunicate. Unless research is adequately reported, the time and resources invested in the conduct of research is wasted. Reporting guidelines such as CONSORT, STARD, PRISMA, and ARRIVE aim to improve the quality of research reports, but all are much less adopted and adhered to than they should be. Adequate reports of research should clearly describe which questions were addressed and why, what was done, what was shown, and what the findings mean. However, substantial failures occur in each of these elements. For example, studies of published trial reports showed that the poor description of interventions meant that 40-89% were non-replicable; comparisons of protocols with publications showed that most studies had at least one primary outcome changed, introduced, or omitted; and investigators of new trials rarely set their findings in the context of a systematic review, and cited a very small and biased selection of previous relevant trials. Although best documented in reports of controlled trials, inadequate reporting occurs in all types of studies-animal and other preclinical studies, diagnostic studies, epidemiological studies, clinical prediction research, surveys, and qualitative studies. In this report, and in the Series more generally, we point to a waste at all stages in medical research. Although a more nuanced understanding of the complex systems involved in the conduct, writing, and publication of research is desirable, some immediate action can be taken to improve the reporting of research. Evidence for some recommendations is clear: change the current system of research rewards and regulations to encourage better and more complete reporting, and fund the development and maintenance of infrastructure to support better reporting, linkage, and archiving of all elements of research. However, the high amount of waste also warrants future investment in the monitoring of and research into reporting of research, and active implementation of the findings to ensure that research reports better address the needs of the range of research users. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Glob Health Action
                Glob Health Action
                Global Health Action
                Taylor & Francis
                22 May 2017
                : 10
                : sup1 , Bringing the indicators home: Country perspective on the utility of global estimates for health indicators (WHO)
                [ a ] Centre for Global Health Research, Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh , Edinburgh, UK
                [ b ] Department of Information, Evidence and Research, World Health Organization , Geneva, Switzerland
                Author notes
                CONTACT Gretchen A. Stevens stevensg@ World Health Organization Avenue Appia 20 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
                © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, References: 27, Pages: 81
                Funded by: Melinda Gates Foundation
                No funding was sought for this review. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported the development of the GATHER statement.
                Review Article

                Health & Social care

                risk factors, reporting guideline, gather health estimate, health status


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