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Table 5 Summary of the panel recommendations and their implementation to date

From: Evaluation of the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing the risk of bias in randomized trials: focus groups, online survey, proposed recommendations and their implementation

Recommendations Implementation of recommendations
Change the wording of bias judgements from ‘Yes/No/Unclear’ to ‘Low/High/Unclear risk of bias’ Implemented in RevMan version 5.1 and Cochrane Handbook version 5.1.0
Introduce category headings for selection, performance and detection, attrition, reporting, and other bias Implemented in RevMan version 5.1 and Cochrane Handbook version 5.1.0
Split the assessment of blinding into: 1) participants and personnel; and 2) outcome assessment Implemented partially in RevMan version 5.1 and Cochrane Handbook version 5.1.0. Full structural implementation scheduled for RevMan version 6
Clarify guidance, particularly for incomplete outcomes and selective outcome reporting, and ‘other sources of bias’ Guidance improved in Cochrane Handbook version 5.1.0. Further guidance development ongoing
Produce clearer and more explicit guidance on incorporation of RoB assessments into meta-analyses Further guidance development ongoing
Weight RoB graphs by study size Scheduled for RevMan version 6
Provide an algorithm for reaching a summary assessment of risk of bias per study/outcome Working group established in 2012 to develop RoB tool 2.0 with signalling questions introduced into the tool to help guide assessors to make a domain-based judgement in a more structured way
Develop online guidance and training materials including an online frequently asked questions and a bank of worked examples of assessments Working group tasked with the development of RoB tool 2.0
Assess how frequently Cochrane Review Groups include non-randomized studies in their reviews Survey completed in 2012 as part of the development of the RoB tool for non-randomized studies
Develop a RoB tool for the assessment of non-randomized studies The development of the RoB tool for non-randomized studies started in March 2012 and is expected to finish by the end of 2014
  1. RoB, risk of bias.