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DUETs UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (UK DUETs): A resource to make uncertainties explicit and to help prioritise new research


Identifying uncertainties relevant to patients and clinicians

DUETsThere are many important uncertainties about the effects of treatments. To help ensure that treatments are likely to do more good than harm, these gaps in knowledge must be identified and those deemed sufficiently important must be addressed in research. Research on the effects of treatments too often fails to address questions that matter to patients, and to the clinicians to whom they turn for help. For this reason, the UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (UK DUETs) gives priority to presenting unanswered questions about the effects of treatments which have been asked by patients and clinicians, while also noting therapeutic uncertainties identified through systematic reviews, clinical guidelines, and other formal mechanisms.

Prioritising uncertainties

James Lind Alliance logoThe UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (UK DUETs) makes no attempt to prioritise the unanswered therapeutic questions it contains. Prioritisation among uncertainties is a task for those who have intimate knowledge of the health problems and treatments concerned.

Because there has been a tendency to overlook unanswered questions about the effects of treatments which are of importance to patients and clinicians, the James Lind Alliance has been established to encourage them to work together to identify their shared priorities for addressing therapeutic uncertainties.

Addressing uncertainties

Cochrane Library logoSometimes unanswered questions about the effects of treatment can be addressed by preparing or updating systematic reviews of existing research evidence. The international Cochrane Collaboration exists to prepare and update systematic reviews. Its systematic reviews are made widely accessible through The Cochrane Library.

Sometimes, up-to-date systematic reviews make clear that additional research is needed, often controlled trials. Information about specific controlled trials can be found through the gateway established by the World Health Organization.