Collaborative Modeling: Experience of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Collaborative Modeling: Experience of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (Article in Advancing the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Methods: Important Considerations in Making Evidence-Based Guidelines, Special Issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine).
Petitti, Diana B. Lin, Jennifer S. Owens, Douglas K. Croswell, Jennifer M. Feuer, Eric J.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
54(1 sp. 1)S53-S62


Models can be valuable tools to address uncertainty, trade-offs, and preferences when trying to understand the effects of interventions. Availability of results from two or more independently developed models that examine the same question (comparative modeling) allows systematic exploration of differences between models and the effect of these differences on model findings. Guideline groups sometimes commission comparative modeling to support their recommendation process. In this commissioned collaborative modeling, modelers work with the people who are developing a recommendation or policy not only to define the questions to be addressed but ideally, work side-by-side with each other and with systematic reviewers to standardize selected inputs and incorporate selected common assumptions. This paper describes the use of commissioned collaborative modeling by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), highlighting the general challenges and opportunities encountered and specific challenges for some topics. It delineates other approaches to use modeling to support evidence-based recommendations and the many strengths of collaborative modeling compared with other approaches. Unlike systematic reviews prepared for the USPSTF, the commissioned collaborative modeling reports used by the USPSTF in making recommendations about screening have not been required to follow a common format, sometimes making it challenging to understand key model features. This paper presents a checklist developed to critically appraise commissioned collaborative modeling reports about cancer screening topics prepared for the USPSTF.