Cochrane Oral Health's Priority Setting Process

Cochrane Oral Health has undertaken a priority-setting process to set our priorities from 2021 to 2024. We looked for important questions to answer in taking care of the mouth, teeth, and gums. The process was completed in 2020, and you can see the results here.

We looked at systematic reviews that we've already published over the past 20 years to see which should be updated, and we are also looked at new questions that may need to be answered. We undertook priority setting so that we can focus on research that is important to people and new research that hasn't yet been done. 

You can read our Priority Setting Plan in full here. It was produced in 2018, and set out details of what we were going to do.

In summary, there were seven stages in our priority setting process:

1. We examined the data on how our existing reviews are being used: how often have they been cited, downloaded and discussed on social media? Find our final report here.

2. We looked at areas where new trials have been registered - what are the up-and-coming research areas in oral health, which might have scope for a new systematic review? Read our report here.

3. We looked at the guidelines that have been developed to inform dentists and healthcare workers how to prevent oral diseases, and the best treatments for keeping the mouth, teeth and gums healthy. In which areas do guideline developers need more research evidence, and would a new systematic review help them to deliver better guidance? Find our report here.

4. We gathered the opinions of patients, carers and the general public. What questions do people have about their oral health? We ran an open online consultation from January 1st 2019 to March 31st 2019. Find out what we discovered here.

5. We mapped the data gathered in stages 1-4 against our current reviews, protocols and registered titles, to see which priority topics are new and which relate to Cochrane Oral Health reviews that already exist. Read our report on this part of the process, here.

6. We presented the identified priorities to a panel of our stakeholders, who ranked the topics in order of importance so that we had a manageable portfolio of priority reviews. 40 people took part, from 23 countries. They were clinicians, researchers, policymakers, guideline developers and members of the public. Find our report here. We would like to thank the members of the panel for their time and expertise.

7. We developed an implementation plan, so that we can make sure that the highest priority questions are developed, and answered where possible by a new or existing Cochrane Oral Health systematic review. This was developed after meetings of the Cochrane Oral Health Editorial Base team. Decisions were made on each priority title and update. Read the plan and the decisions, here.

We also sent out periodic bulletins on our priority setting process. You can catch up with our priority setting bulletins, here. If you'd like to know more, sign up to our priority setting mailing list. In future years, we will use this list to alert you when a new priority review is published, or a priority review is updated. 

Priority setting is an important part of Cochrane's overall strategic plan, and you can read more about priority setting on Cochrane's knowledge translation pages.