Evaluating research for clinical significance: using critically appraised topics to enhance evidence-based neuropsychology.Clin Neuropsychol. 2014; 28(4):653-68.CN
Meehl's (1973, Psychodiagnosis: Selected papers. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press) distinction between statistical and clinical significance holds special relevance for evidence-based neuropsychological practice. Meehl argued that despite attaining statistical significance, many published findings have limited practical value since they do not inform clinical care. In the context of an ever expanding clinical research literature, accessible methods to evaluate clinical impact are needed. The method of Critically Appraised Topics (Straus, Richardson, Glasziou, & Haynes, 2011, Evidence-based medicine: How to practice and teach EBM (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill-Livingstone) was developed to provide clinicians with a "toolkit" to facilitate implementation of evidence-based practice. We illustrate the Critically Appraised Topics method using a dementia screening example. We argue that the skills practiced through critical appraisal provide clinicians with methods to: (1) evaluate the clinical relevance of new or unfamiliar research findings with a focus on patient benefit, (2) help focus of research quality, and (3) incorporate evaluation of clinical impact into educational and professional development activities.