PCORI aims to demonstrate that a patient-centered, stakeholder-driven approach to clinical research has value to researchers, payers, policy makers and other members of the healthcare community by improving the quality, relevance, and usability of study findings.
To help accomplish this, we are harnessing information in various forms, including evidence maps and evidence visualizations. These visual evidence synthesis products gather information from health studies on a specific topic, display the data within an interactive visual platform, and allow users to interact with the data and evaluate the existing evidence. Evidence maps and evidence visualizations use many of the same processes as systematic reviews, including a systematic search and clear inclusion criteria; however, they are distinct in that they seek to synthesize large amounts of data in a visually meaningful way.
Evidence maps and evidence visualizations are visual evidence synthesis products, which take complex data from health studies and present this data visually, to make the data easier to understand and use. Evidence maps and evidence visualizations can be used by various individuals, including:
- Physicians who can identify treatments for their patients and compare the effectiveness of different treatments
- Researchers who can identify new studies to be conducted by analyzing current gaps in the evidence base or where evidence from existing studies appears insufficient
- Patients who can identify treatments of interest, which they can bring to the attention of their clinician, thus encouraging patients to ask specific questions relating to their individual preferences and values
The backbone of these visual evidence synthesis products is the data underlying the map or visualization. A group of researchers conduct a thorough search of the literature, calculate their findings and comparisons (if there are two or more similar studies), and display their research results in an interactive data visualization. Once the data has been curated for the user, a team of developers create the format to best present the data to the user. The goal of an evidence map or evidence visualization is to facilitate evidence-informed decision making for clinicians and their patients.
Our evidence maps and evidence visualizations focus on:
For the best interactive experience, we recommend viewing these Evidence Maps on desktop-sized devices in a Chrome, Safari, or Firefox browser.
Each topic is accompanied by a summary report that details the methodology used as well as key conclusions and findings. The report also features an executive summary, a results section providing an overview of the research landscape and literature, and a review of ongoing research.
Posted: March 6, 2019; Updated: January 15, 2021