Improving the quality of reporting acupuncture interventions: describing the collaboration between STRICTA, CONSORT and the Chinese Cochrane Centre.
MacPherson H., Altman DG.
BACKGROUND: First published in 2001, STRICTA (STandards for Reporting Interventions in Controlled Trials of Acupuncture) was designed to expand on the reporting of one item within the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) Statement checklist, the item relating to the intervention. Two recent reviews had found that STRICTA was highly regarded in the field and that there was a need for minor revisions. OBJECTIVE: To revise STRICTA within the CONSORT family of reporting guidelines. DESIGN: A collaborative effort involving the STRICTA Group, the CONSORT Group and the Chinese Cochrane Centre was agreed. A consultation process with 47 international experts provided detailed feedback on an initial draft of a revised checklist. These data, along with the two review studies, comprised the documentation for a consensus meeting in Freiburg, Germany in October 2008. A total of 21 participants attended the meeting, bringing their expertise as research methodologists, reporting guideline developers, acupuncturists, physicians and journal editors. RESULTS: At the workshop, a revised draft checklist was agreed. There was general consensus that STRICTA should continue to function as a stand-alone guideline as well as an extension to CONSORT. It was agreed that STRICTA should be sufficiently broad to cover all type of clinical studies, from case reports through uncontrolled studies to randomised controlled trials. It was also decided that explanations and examples, as with other CONSORT reporting guidelines, would provide a useful way of supporting the uptake to the new recommendations when published. DISCUSSION: The checklist will be subjected to further revision processes in order to further its impact and support wider dissemination. Journals that regularly publish acupuncture trials will be encouraged to adopt the revised STRICTA, include it in their guidelines for authors, and promote the adoption of its recommendations for clinical studies of acupuncture.