A small group of USPSTF members, called topic leads, works with researchers from the Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) to create a draft Research Plan to guide the systematic review of the evidence. The Research Plan consists of an analytic framework, key questions, and a literature search strategy or research approach.
Each draft Research Plan is posted for public comment for 4 weeks. The USPSTF topic leads, with the assistance of the EPC researchers, review all of the comments received, revise the draft plan, and develop a final Research Plan. The final Research Plan is then posted on this Web site.
The research team at the EPC independently implements the final Research Plan by conducting a systematic review of the evidence to address the questions posed by the USPSTF. The research team presents a draft Evidence Review to the full USPSTF at one of its in-person meetings. After the meeting, each draft Evidence Review is shared with a panel of external subject matter experts and posted for public comment for 4 weeks. Based on feedback received from Task Force members, subject matter experts, and the public, the research team finalizes the Evidence Review and prepares a manuscript summarizing the evidence for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or on this Web site.
The USPSTF, in partnership with AHRQ's Effective Health Care (EHC) Program, also offers opportunities for public comment on EHC draft Evidence Reviews that are related to the USPSTF's work. To learn more about and comment on draft Evidence Reviews from AHRQ's EHC Program, visit https://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/get-involved/draft-comments.
During one of its in-person meetings, the entire USPSTF reviews the evidence, evaluates the benefits and harms of the clinical preventive service, and discusses and develops one or more specific recommendations.
After the meeting, the topic leads write a full draft Recommendation Statement that includes the specific recommendations of the entire USPSTF, a rationale section, a section of clinical considerations to guide health care professionals, and a discussion section that reviews the evidence and discusses the recommendations of other organizations. The USPSTF posts its draft Recommendation Statement on this Web site for public comment for 4 weeks. The USPSTF topic leads review all of the comments received and revise the draft Recommendation Statement. The final Recommendation Statement is reviewed and voted on by the full Task Force, and posted on this Web site.
How to Comment
Any visitor to this site can comment on any of the listed USPSTF draft documents. However, readers should note that the USPSTF writes these documents for researchers, primary care doctors, and other health care providers, using medical and scientific language as appropriate for these audiences.
To comment, click on the type of draft document in the box at top right. Comments must be received before the comment deadline listed below each title. The comment period for draft documents is 4 weeks.
Once the draft Research Plan, Evidence Review, or Recommendation Statement is removed from the public comment page, the USPSTF begins considering comments and finalizing the document. Until the final Recommendation Statement is published, the USPSTF considers the Recommendation Statements on this Web site to be current.
You will receive acknowledgement that your comments have been transmitted. At the present time, the USPSTF cannot provide responses to individual comments.