TABLE 3-2 Methods Used to Identify Topics for Systematic Reviews in Selected Organizations



Who Can Nominate

Eligible Topics


Solicits topics annually through the Federal Register and accepts nominations on an ongoing basis

Open to the public; AHRQ conducts systematic reviews for CMS, the USPSTF, and the NIH Consensus Development Conference program

Effectiveness of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of common clinical and behavioral conditions; organization and financing; and research methods; topics addressed by the Effective Health Care Program must relate to 1 of 10 priority conditions established by the secretary of HHSa


Solicits topics from within BCBSA and from its advisers

TEC staff, medical directors of member plans, Medical Advisory Panel (external advisers), Medical Policy Panel, and pharmacy managers

Effectiveness of surgical procedures, devices and implants, diagnostic imaging, laboratory tests, and targeted and specialty pharmaceuticals

Cochrane Collaboration

Vary among 51 review groups

Open to the public; reviews are author initiated or the topic is nominated and authors sought

Broad range of clinical services and population-based health interventions


Program participants nominate topics

State Medicaid programs and other participating organizations

Comparative effectiveness of drugs within classes of drugs

MedCAC and CMSb

Internal decision

MedCAC staff

Devices, drugs, and procedures that are within the scope of Medicare coverage and subject to a national coverage decision


Internal decision by the department of health in England and Wales; NICE uses the National Horizon Scanning Centre to identify new and emerging technologies

Individuals and groups

Effectiveness of services that are being considered for coverage by the National Health Service, including drugs, devices, diagnostics, surgical procedures, and population-based health promotion

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