School of Dentistry and Institute for Research, Development, and Innovation (IRDI) of International Medical University (IMU) jointly organised a Workshop on Systematic Review and Meta-analysis in Dentistry (Basic Level) on 1 June 2018 at IMU’s Bukit Jalil campus.
Systematic review is a systematic approach to review all the relevant literature on a topic. The studies selected, following a methodological search from various databases, are critically appraised and relevant information are synthesised. In healthcare, systematic review is often done to summarise the results and provide good evidences on the effectiveness of healthcare interventions based on a research question. It subsequently leads to making sound judgments from the evidence and recommendations for better healthcare.
On the other hand, meta-analysis is a statistical technique that provides a summary measure by combining quantitative data from relevant studies. This quantitative output provides a more objective assessment of the new technique or procedure and provides guidance on its further acceptance by healthcare. It is done by combining the findings from different independent studies with the ultimate aims of comparing results from different studies, identifying patterns among study results as well as sources of disagreement among the results. In short, meta-analysis is an analysis of analysis. Example of meta-analysis in healthcare is on several clinical trials of a medical treatment in order to find out how well a treatment works.
The speakers for this half-day workshop were Dr Pulikkotil Shaju Jacob, Head of the Division of Clinical Dentistry in the School of Dentistry; Dr Venkateshbabu Nagendrababu, Senior Lecturer from the Division of Clinical Dentistry; and Dr Jayakumar Jayaraman, Lecturer from the Division of Children and Community Oral Health, School of Dentistry. They have jointly published systematic reviews on various topics in some of the leading journals of dentistry.
This workshop deliberated on the topics of how to plan and carry out a basic systematic review in dentistry, understanding the appropriate methods for more complex analysis, how to interpret the results of a meta-analysis, as well as how to interpret and accurately communicate the meta-analysis results.