Appraisal of: Rosen A B, Greenberg D, Stone P W, Olchanski N V, Neumann P J. Quality of abstracts of papers reporting original cost-effectiveness analyses. Medical Decision Making 2005;25:424-428.

Short description: 
This research examined the quality of reporting of key data elements in journal abstracts of cost-effectiveness analyses (CEA). MEDLINE was searched (1998-2001) using three search terms and HEED was searched for additional records. 303 abstracts (from 150 journals) were assessed. Two independent readers found that 94% gave a clear description of the intervention, 71% gave a description of the comparator, 85% reported the target population and 28% the study perspective. The mean number of elements reported was 2.78. Journals which have CEA-specific abstract reporting requirements, structured abstract requirements or high impact factors had significantly more data in abstracts than journals without those features.
Limitations stated by the author(s): 
The study examines a subset of CEAs reporting $/QALY outcomes and may not reflect the quality of abstract reporting in the broader body of CEAs. The study focused on four data elements and other elements might be important. The authors propose the use of standard descriptors but this may not automatically result in improved abstract quality.
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
The MEDLINE search strategy is quite sparse (three terms) and may not have identified all relevant CEAs. The HEED search is not described in detail so an assessment of its quality cannot be made.
Study Type: 
Single study
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