The Cochrane Rehabilitation Review Committee has just published a paper, in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, with the following aims:
- Identify all published protocols and reviews in the Cochrane Library relevant to the scope of practice of rehabilitation.
- Test pragmatic criteria to identify rehabilitation interventions.
- Begin categorizing reviews according to the professionals involved in delivering the intervention and broad areas of clinical practice.
We built an online rational database into which we imported titles and abstracts of all reviews and protocols published in the Cochrane Library from 1996 to August 2018. We recruited rehabilitation professionals worldwide through Cochrane Rehabilitation's social media to find and tag rehabilitation reviews in this database. One rehabilitation physician and one allied health professional independently tagged each title against pre-specified criteria. The Cochrane Rehabilitation Review Committee examined disagreements between contributors or any uncertainties about how to categorise a review. We revised and improved our preliminary criteria for identifying rehabilitation interventions as the work progressed. We identified that 9.4% of all Cochrane publications (894/9471 reviews and protocols) are directly relevant to the practice of rehabilitation. The professional groups whose interventions were most frequently the subject of rehabilitation reviews and protocols were rehabilitation physicians and physical therapists. We also identified a final list of inclusion and exclusion criteria for reviews on rehabilitation interventions.
We concluded that many Cochrane Reviews are directly relevant to rehabilitation. Cochrane needs to consider the rehabilitation community a major stakeholder in all its work. The pragmatic criteria we tested are offered for future discussions on the identification and categorisation of rehabilitation interventions by stakeholders worldwide. This work will support the spread of content from the Cochrane Library to rehabilitation professionals and guide future research.