Critically Appraised Topics for Healthcare Professionals - method and process (CATs)

So what is CATs

Critically Appraised Topics (CATs) are concise summaries of the best available evidence on a specific healthcare topic. These summaries are created through a systematic and critical appraisal of relevant studies to inform healthcare professionals about the current state of evidence on a particular subject. 

Understanding  how to format CATs to gain the best outcome:

Title:
Clearly state the topic of your CAT.


Introduction:
Provide a brief overview of the healthcare issue or question.  Highlight the importance or relevance of the topic.


Clinical Question:
Clearly define the clinical question you are addressing.  Use the PICO(T) format (Patient/Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, Time) if applicable.


Search Strategy:
Describe the databases and search terms used to find relevant studies.  Mention inclusion and exclusion criteria.


Critical Appraisal:
Summarise the key findings of the selected studies.
Evaluate the study designs, methodologies, and biases.
Discuss the level of evidence and quality of the studies.


Results:

Present the main results of the included studies.
Include any statistical measures or important outcomes.


Implications for Practice:

Discuss how the evidence can be applied in clinical practice.
Highlight any changes or recommendations for healthcare professionals.


Limitations:

Identify limitations of the studies included in the appraisal.
Discuss potential biases or confounding factors.


Conclusion:

Summarise the overall findings.
Provide a clear answer to the clinical question based on the evidence.


References:
Cite all the studies and sources used in your CAT.


Critical Reflection:
Reflect on the process of conducting the CAT.
Discuss any challenges faced or limitations in the available evidence.
Remember that the purpose of a CAT is to provide a quick and accessible summary of the best available evidence for healthcare professionals. The critical appraisal component is crucial in assessing the reliability and applicability of the studies to clinical practice.
 

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