Monday, February 02, 2009

turning unknown unknowns into known unknowns.....

The UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatment (UK DUETs) becomes a Specialist Library within the National Library for Health.

DUETs has been established in the UK to publish uncertainties about the effects of treatments that cannot currently be answered by referring to reliable, up-to-date systematic reviews of existing research evidence. Systematic reviews are based on worldwide searches for reliable, relevant evidence, analysed using methods to reduce biases and the play of chance. More detailed information about systematic reviews and fair tests of the effects of medical treatments is available in The James Lind Library at: (

Identifying uncertainties relevant to patients and clinicians

There are many important uncertainties about the effects of treatments. To help ensure that treatments are likely to do more good than harm, these gaps in knowledge must be identified and those deemed sufficiently important must be addressed in research, either by systematic assessment of what can be known from existing evidence, or by extending the evidence base. Research on the effects of treatments too often fails to address questions that matter to patients,
and to the clinicians to whom they turn for help.

For this reason, the UK DUETs identifies and publishes unanswered questions about the effects of treatments which have been asked by patients and clinicians, while also noting therapeutic uncertainties identified through systematic reviews, clinical guidelines, and other formal mechanisms.

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