Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Core outcome sets raise health standards

Researchers involved in clinical trials do not always measure and deliver appropriate outcomes for decision-making to improve health care. Core outcome sets (COS) could be the answer to the problem.
Core outcome sets raise health standards
The EU-funded COMET (The COMET (Core outcome measures in effectiveness trials) initiative) project has investigated the potential advantages of applying COS to identify the selection of outcomes that should be measured in trials and clinical audits. These steps should minimise wastage resulting from a failure to capitalise on the potential power of research to improve the wellbeing of patients.

Key to the success of COMET communication strategy is the project website. Housing a database that has been enhanced by project work, there is also a core resource pack, news, events and many other features to support the development of COS.

The database has drawn on a systematic review of almost 200 COS studies that cover many health areas highlighting important gaps where this data is needed in the future. COMET also built a repository of relevant work. Collating and developing evidence-based methods and reporting guidelines is, and will continue to be, a dynamic exercise.

COMET has successfully raised awareness for all stakeholders involved in COS – including public and patient involvement organisations, researchers, health service users, practitioners, policy makers, funders, regulators and journal editors.

Proof of the success comes from statistics that 90 % of the 49 ongoing projects involve patients and carers as opposed to only 16 % of those published up to June 2013. Similarly, Cochrane Reviews, addressing primary research in human health care and recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care, reported improvements from 31 % in 2011 to 57 % in 2013.

COMET researchers predict that the number of new COS will double by 2018, an increase partly aided by project initiatives. Having developed a model of workforce support for COS, the plan is to raise funding to implement the system. This incorporates self-help resources, input from experienced COS developers and meetings to aid collaboration of COS developers from a range of health fields.

Related information


Core outcome sets, clinical trials, database, resource pack, Cochrane Reviews
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