Use and acceptability of third-party network meta-analysis tools in conducting reviews among Cochrane authors
Lora Mishra, Institute of Dental Sciences, Cochrane India Network Affiliate Centre
Background: Network meta-analysis is a powerful statistical technique used in systematic reviews to compare multiple treatments and interventions. However, the usability and acceptability of third-party network meta-analysis tools and software among authors in Cochrane reviews have not been fully explored.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate the usability and acceptability of third-party network meta-analysis tools and software among authors in Cochrane reviews.
Methods: A questionnaire-based survey was conducted among 170 Cochrane authors who had conducted network meta-analyses. The questionnaire included questions on the authors’ experiences with using network meta-analysis tools and software like STATA, R, SAS, GeMTC, NetMetaXL, JAGS, etc. and recorded their opinions on the importance of using such tools in Cochrane reviews, as well as their suggestions for improving the usability and acceptability of these tools and software.
Results: The results showed that most Cochrane authors who conducted network meta-analyses found the tools and software to be easy to use and were generally satisfied with their performance. Some authors identified specific features or functions of these tools that were challenging to use, which may suggest areas for improvement in the particular tools and software, and others identified challenges and limitations of using STATA and R, such as the need for specialized training and technical support. The authors’ opinions on the importance of using these network meta-analysis tools and software in Cochrane reviews were generally positive, indicating a perceived value in using these tools and software to conduct meta-analyses.
Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that network meta-analysis tools and software are important, valuable, and accepted tools for conducting meta-analyses in Cochrane reviews. However, integrated software with future versions of RevMan could be useful. Healthcare consumer involvement: This study provides important insights into the experiences of Cochrane authors with using third-party network meta-analysis tools and software, which can inform the development of more effective and user-friendly tools and software in the future.