Evidence Gaps

Find evidence gaps for each systematic review under the “WHAT THE TASK FORCE FOUND” tab on the intervention summary page. Use the search engine to identify specific approaches or the drop-down menu to browse Community Guide topics.

What are Evidence Gaps?

Each Community Guide systematic review includes a list of critical evidence gaps that limit the CPSTF’s ability to answer questions about the intervention approach:

  • Will it work for everyone? How might it affect populations differently?
  • Will it work everywhere? Is it more effective in certain settings?
  • Are some intervention components more important than others? Does it matter who delivers the intervention?
  • What are the economic benefits? What are intervention costs, and what is the return on investment? Is it cost-effective?

Insufficient Evidence Findings

CPSTF uses the results of systematic reviews of interventions to issue findings based on the strength of the evidence (effectiveness and economic).

A finding of insufficient evidence (IE) means that not enough evidence exists or there is inconsistent evidence. As a result, CPSTF cannot recommend for or against use of an intervention. It does not mean the intervention does not work.

How Can Researchers Use Evidence Gaps?

Filling identified evidence gaps can make a significant positive impact on public health, health disparities, and healthcare costs. Researchers and program evaluators can review relevant evidence gaps and develop research proposals of their studies and real-world evaluations. If the results of the research or evaluation studies are published, the studies may become part of the evidence that CPSTF will review when it updates relevant recommendations.

How Can Funding Organizations Use Evidence Gaps?

Agencies and organizations that fund research can highlight identified evidence gaps as priority areas in their funding announcements. The research or evaluation studies, when taken together, may themselves contribute significant information to fill specific gaps.