The quiet revolution: Reporting of health outcomes in general medical journals
Australian Health Review
This study reviews the extent of evaluation of health outcomes in three general medical journals over the past decade by examining papers published in the original research section of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), The Lancet, and the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) in 1982 and 1992. Evaluations were identified and classified according to the type of comparison group and the type of outcome measures employed. They were divided into three categories: those employing a comparison
... oying a comparison group; those employing a before-and-after study design (or own comparison group); and those with no comparison group. The categories of outcome measures were mortality, clinical or intermediate measures of health state, and final outcome measures (quality of life). Results show that the proportion of papers evaluating a health services intervention remained stable over the period. However, the MJA published considerably fewer evaluations than the other journals. In the NEJM and The Lancet, 75␣ per cent of evaluations incorporated comparison groups, in the MJA, less than 40␣ per cent. Overall, the proportion of papers reporting final outcome measures increased significantly between 1982 and 1992 (p = 0.04) but the change in each journal individually did not reach statistical significance. This study indicates that the reporting of health outcomes evaluations has remained constant but there has been some change in the use of comparison groups and final outcome measures over time.