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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v17.i2.20
pages 95-102

Hierarchy of Evidence: A Simple System for Orthopaedic Research?

Julia Pemberton
Department of Surgery, McMaster University,Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Juliana Kraeva
Department of Surgery, McMaster University,Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Mohit Bhandari
CLARITY Research Group, McMaster University, Department of Orthopedic Surgery Musculoskeletal Research Unit, Canada and Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Hamilton General Hospital, Canada

ABSTRACT

To be able to make a sound recommendation for a treatment based on the best available evidence, it is necessary to follow specific steps in acquiring literature, appraising the study design and quality, and assessing the results. Evidence-based medicine is founded on the concepts of using best evidence, levels of evidence, and grades of recommendation, and aims to provide clinicians with standardized rules to help them appraise the validity of published research. A number of systems have been developed to categorize research studies into consistent levels of evidence. These systems are based primarily on consensus expert opinion, and have not been validated to any extent. The use of different systems does not allow for effective communication between users; there is a lack of accord even between users of the same system. The GRADE working group has devised a new rating system that attempts to address deficiencies seen within other systems.