AHRQ definition

The Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ), which sponsors the creation of systematic reviews to help public and private organizations improve the quality of healthcare, defines systematic reviews as:

“…the building blocks underlying evidence-based practice; they focus attention on the strength and limits of evidence from research studies about the effectiveness and safety of a clinical intervention.”

AHRQ says systematic reviews are useful because:

“In the context of developing recommendations for practice, systematic reviews can help clarify whether assertions about the value of the intervention are based on strong evidence from clinical studies.”

Systematic reviews are extremely rigorous, but also extremely time and resource-intensive. On the next page, we’ll take a closer look at the steps researchers follow when they do this kind of work.