Systematic reviews often assess multiple outcomes (benefits and harm). An ongoing challenge is how to present results for multiple outcomes in a clear and concise way, in order to facilitate judgments of the overall balance of benefits and harms. Dot plots are a data visualization method to display findings across multiple outcomes in a visually pleasing format. The availability of a statistical package module to easily produce dot plots would enable systematic reviewers to more easily include such figures in reports and other products summarizing the findings for multiple outcomes in a single figure, without having to use additional commercial software. This would enhance the usability of Evidence-based Practice Center and other systematic reviews.
The purpose of this project was to develop a tool for a standard statistical package (Stata) to create dot plots to summarize pooled data for multiple outcomes in systematic reviews. Our tool could be used for outcomes that are benefits as well as harms. We also adapted the dot plots to display pooled data for continuous outcomes.
Suggested citation: Yu Y, Fu R, Wagner J, Ahmed A, Smith C, Chou R. Developing and Piloting a Tool To Create Dot Plots To Summarize Pooled Data for Multiple Outcomes in Systematic Reviews. Methods Research Report. (Prepared by the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 75Q80120D00006. AHRQ Publication No. 22-EHC001. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. October 2021. doi: 10.23970/AHRQEPCMETHODSDOTPLOTS. Posted final reports are located on the Effective Health Care Program search page.