OTCATS: Occupational Therapy Critically Appraised Topics
Introduction Topics Project Summary EBP Links Media Releases

CAT Banks

Most of the CATs contained on these websites have not been formally peer reviewed. Therefore, the quality can vary greatly. Most CATs include an appraisal of study methods, statistical re-analysis and re-interpretation of results. References are usually provided at the end. Most CATs have been developed by medical professionals or students, however allied health professionals and students are gradually starting to complete their own.

An interesting article on the quality of CATs is noted below. The authors rated 55 consecutive CATs or appraisals completed by doctors, for a web-based journal club. Unfortunately, the authors found that the weakest link in CATs was the failure to identify relevant articles. A total of 22% of appraisals missed the most relevant articles for answering the initial clinical question :

Coomarasamy, A., Latthe, P., et al (2001). Critical appraisal in clinical practice: Sometimes irrelevant, occasionally invalid. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 94(11), 573-577


  1. Critically appraised Topics in Rehabilitation Therapy, Queens University, Canada http://www.rehab.queensu.ca/cats/

This new site includes CATs completed by graduate students in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. A range of topics and disciplines are represented, and the format is similar to the CATs found on the current Australian site.   Developed in 2004, and managed by Norma MacIntyre (PT), Michelle Villeneuve (OT), and Paola Durando (librarian).

  1. Speech Pathology CAT Bank www.clininfo.health.nsw.gov.au/ebp_speechpath/01Home.htm

CATs listed here have a speech/language or a swallowing focus. They are divided up into clinical areas such as Œadult dysphagia‚, 'adult communication‚, 'fluency', paediatric feeding' and so on. Developed by a small group of clinicians based in public hospital settings in Sydney, Australia. Single page summaries with a clinical bottom line are provided. List of questions 'yet to be answered' also available for students and other clinicians to tackle.

Developed by : New South Wales Speech Pathology Evidence Based Practice Network
C/- Speech Pathology Department, St George Hospital, Belgrave Street, Kogarah, NSW 2217 Australia
Tel: 61-2-9350-2395
FAX: 61-2-9350-3935
Internet: stevensa@sesahs.nsw.gov.au

  1. University of Rochester Medical Center, Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatric Residence and Primary Care Program in Internal Medicine www.urmc.rochester.edu/medicine/res/CATS/index.html

CATs listed here mostly have a medical focus. They are divided up into clinical areas such as ‘cardiology’, neurology’ and ‘oncology’. Some CATs have a multidisciplinary focus, for example ‘Treatments for adolescents with depression’ and ‘Alarms versus medications for primary nocturnal enuresis’. Contains links to other CAT banks.

  1.  Evidence-Based On-Call database www.eboncall.co.uk

CATs are listed alphabetically under conditions (eg ‘COPD exacerbation’, ‘deep vein thrombosis’, ‘stroke’, ‘cellulitis’). Most are medically focussed, and divided up according to ‘Diagnosis’, ‘Harm/Aetiology’, ‘Prognosis’, and ‘Therapy’. Contains one CAT on the effectiveness of occupational therapy for stroke

  1. University of Michigan Department of Pediatrics www.med.umich.edu/pediatrics/ebm/

This site developed from a medical paediatric journal club, where staff and students prepare then present their completed summary of evidence or CAT. They start with a focussed clinical question and pursue the answer with the help of a mentor over several weeks. Contains guidelines for preparing a CAT. Topics include ‘Skateboarders are more likely to be injured compared to in-line skaters or rollerskaters’.

Supported & Funded by Occupational Therapy Australia
© 2003 Annie McCluskey. Disclaimer