Priority setting

Lead of the priority setting process.

The process is lead by the Australian base of Cochrane Musculoskeletal (Rachelle Buchbinder, Renea Johnston), with support from the Canadian base staff (Lara Maxwell, Jordi Pardo Pardo) and input of the editorial board.

Stakeholder engagement

The process of priority setting is a joint venture with the Australia and New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network. It includes patients, clinicians, researchers, and policy-makers.

People interested in contributing to Cochrane Musculoskeletal priority setting exercise can contact Renea Johnston or Jordi Pardo Pardo.


We have a multi-attribute decision making process that is feed, on a continuous basis, by the following inputs:

  • Web-Survey of ANZMUSC Clinical Trials Network members
  • Workshop format of clinicians and consumers to identify contemporary clinical issues that participants would like addressed by research
  • Review of Therapeutic Guidelines: Rheumatology, 3rd edition to identify recommendations that were made based upon either low quality evidence or consensus
  • Review of all Cochrane reviews relating to MSK conditions (mostly published by Cochrane Musculoskeletal and Cochrane Back) to identify where implications for research included the need for further high-quality evidence
  • Scoping review of musculoskeletal questions produced by previous priority setting projects internationally.
  • Review of Choosing Wisely and like initiatives such as EVOLVE for MSK conditions to identify evidence-practice gaps
  • Scoping searches for the availability of new trials
  • Direct contact with guideline developers

Titles prioritized

The list is constantly updated as the results of the different activities highlights new gaps to cover.

The following titles are the current priorities as a group:

  • Long-term glucocorticoids for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Short-term glucocorticoids for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Subcutaneous or intramuscular methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Weight loss for overweight patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis


For some of our topic areas, we have identified further priority topics:


  • Autologous blood product injections including platelet rich plasma for osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Glucosamine therapy for treating osteoarthritis
  • Stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Viscosupplementation for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee


  • Bisphosphonates for postmenopausal osteoporosis: A network meta-analysis
  • Exercise for preventing and treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women

Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Dietary interventions for rheumatoid arthritis
  • DMARDs for rheumatoid arthritis: a network meta-analysis
  • Down titration and discontinuation strategies of tumor necrosis factor alpha blocking agents for rheumatoid arthritis in patients with low disease activity.
  • Tai chi for treating rheumatoid arthritis