Reporting guideline for overviews of reviews of healthcare interventions: Development of the PRIOR statement

Michelle Gates, Allison Gates, Dawid Pieper, Ricardo M. Fernandes, Andrea C. Tricco, David Moher, Sue E. Brennan, Tianjing Li, Michelle Pollock, Carole Lunny, Dino Sepúlveda, Joanne E. McKenzie, Shannon D. Scott, Karen A. Robinson, Katja Matthias, Konstantinos I. Bougioukas, Paolo Fusar-Poli, Penny Whiting, Stephana J. Moss, Lisa Hartling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: To develop a reporting guideline for overviews of reviews of healthcare interventions. Design: Development of the preferred reporting items for overviews of reviews (PRIOR) statement. Participants: Core team (seven individuals) led day-to-day operations, and an expert advisory group (three individuals) provided methodological advice. A panel of 100 experts (authors, editors, readers including members of the public or patients) was invited to participate in a modified Delphi exercise. 11 expert panellists (chosen on the basis of expertise, and representing relevant stakeholder groups) were invited to take part in a virtual face-to-face meeting to reach agreement (≥70%) on final checklist items. 21 authors of recently published overviews were invited to pilot test the checklist. Setting: International consensus. Intervention: Four stage process established by the EQUATOR Network for developing reporting guidelines in health research: project launch (establish a core team and expert advisory group, register intent), evidence reviews (systematic review of published overviews to describe reporting quality, scoping review of methodological guidance and author reported challenges related to undertaking overviews of reviews), modified Delphi exercise (two online Delphi surveys to reach agreement (≥70%) on relevant reporting items followed by a virtual face-to-face meeting), and development of the reporting guideline. Results: From the evidence reviews, we drafted an initial list of 47 potentially relevant reporting items. An international group of 52 experts participated in the first Delphi survey (52% participation rate); agreement was reached for inclusion of 43 (91%) items. 44 experts (85% retention rate) completed the second Delphi survey, which included the four items lacking agreement from the first survey and five new items based on respondent comments. During the second round, agreement was not reached for the inclusion or exclusion of the nine remaining items. 19 individuals (6 core team and 3 expert advisory group members, and 10 expert panellists) attended the virtual face-to-face meeting. Among the nine items discussed, high agreement was reached for the inclusion of three and exclusion of six. Six authors participated in pilot testing, resulting in minor wording changes. The final checklist includes 27 main items (with 19 sub-items) across all stages of an overview of reviews. Conclusions: PRIOR fills an important gap in reporting guidance for overviews of reviews of healthcare interventions. The checklist, along with rationale and example for each item, provides guidance for authors that will facilitate complete and transparent reporting. This will allow readers to assess the methods used in overviews of reviews of healthcare interventions and understand the trustworthiness and applicability of their findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere070849
JournalThe BMJ
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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