Our prioritization process

Our Prioritization Process

Our priority-setting survey is now closed. Thank you to all who participated. The results for the priority-setting process are now available:
Priority Setting Results 2019-2020

Prioritization process for the Anaesthesia Review Group (CARG)

We aim to produce high-quality, clinically relevant reviews, which clinicians, patients, policymakers and guideline developers want to use. We already cover many relevant topics within our existing portfolio. This prioritization process aims to identify relevant topics for new reviews or review updates.


We will establish a steering group to lead the priority setting process to help define and refine the scope of the exercise. This will include the Managing Editor, Co-ordinating Editor, one other Editor and a review author as a minimum but we would be keen to have an external stakeholder represented also.

Stakeholder engagement

  •  We intend to engage with multiple stakeholder groups. We have already engaged with the UK Royal College of Anaesthetists. Not only does this body represent over 8000 practising anaesthetists in the UK, it also produces standards for anaesthesia care which are referred to throughout the world, and is currently embarking on the production of a set of new guidelines for perioperative care. We are also liaising with the European Society of Anaesthesiology through the chair of their Guidelines Committee.
  • A large number of European and International stakeholder groups will be invited to provide feedback throughout the process
  • We will disseminate our intention to conduct our priority setting exercise through the relevant Cochrane channels to allow both external and internal stakeholders the opportunity for engagement.

 Documentation and dissemination

  • The priority-setting project is documented below. The plan, once implemented, will be available on the Cochrane Anaesthesia Group website, including a summary of the exercise once complete.
  •           We will also publish the list of priority topics when is it formulated.
  •          We will continue to promote high priority reviews upon publication using approaches recommended by the Cochrane Knowledge Translation department.
  •          We will feed back the results of the priority setting process to our stakeholders.
  •          We will evaluate the priority setting process and its outcomes.


The project below will be complete by January 2020 and will be repeated after 3 years.

Review prioritization project outline

1 Establish steering group

Timeframe: June 2019.

2 Define topic scope for Group’s exercise

We will draw on our published scope (see Group website) and perform a mapping exercise to determine which areas of the Group’s scope are well served by existing trials that have not been synthesized in a Cochrane Review.

Timeframe: Begin June 2019, complete by end of October 2019.

3 Invite topic nominations from stakeholders

We will invite authors, editors, relevant Cochrane Fields, and our external stakeholders (i.e. professional organisations, relevant patient groups, and guideline developers) to contribute topic suggestions through an online portal. We will also take note of the results of existing high-quality, inclusive prioritization exercises such as that conducted by the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting exercise in Anaesthesia and Perioperative Care, which includes several stakeholder perspectives (clinicians, patients, policymakers and guideline developers):


Timeframe: Survey portal open October to December 2019

4 Prioritize the suggestions received

From the list of portal submissions, we will choose 10-15 priority reviews for the next 2-3 years’ work for the Group. This will be undertaken, according to the following principles and will be in the form of a modified Delphi exercise by the steering group. We will have regard to the relevance of topics to patients and other healthcare decision makers and also likely impact a review topic will attract (i.e. likelihood of citations, downloads, guideline production etc.)

Timeframe:  December 2019 and January 2020

5 Dissemination

We will publish the results of our process on the Group’s website and will actively inform relevant stakeholders throughout the prioritization process. We will also seek to disseminate the results in a formal academic publication.

Timeframe: February 2020 (revised to Fall 2020)

6 Continuing implementation

To produce relevant and high quality reviews and ensure most effective use of the available resources, we will continue to hold online editorial meetings twice a year to decide on accepting new titles and updates as a standard procedure. Acceptance of titles outside of these dates shall be possible for exceptional circumstances (e.g. unanticipated high impact epidemic). Submission deadlines for new titles will be announced on our website and will take place in April and November. 

Andrew Smith

Co-ordinating Editor, Cochrane Anaesthesia Review Group

30 March 2019