Category Archives: Tools

Assessing qualitative research for systematic reviews

Do you search for studies for potential inclusion in qualitative systematic reviews? If you do, you might be interested in this quality assessment tool developed by Dr Christopher Carroll and Dr Andrew Booth.  QuaRT aims to assist reviewers with decisions about inclusion and exclusion of qualitative studies by asking questions in 4 domains:  question and study design, selection of participants, method of data collection and method of data analysis.  This is still a new tool and as it has been developed during writing of a health technology assessment, it has not gone through metholdological development, testing and evaluation. If you plan to use this tool, Drs Carroll and Booth would be interested to hear from you.

Choosing wisely – is that treatment really necessary?

Hard pressed economies around the world have resulted in restrained expenditure and in some countries, austerity measures. Reduced expenditure has resulted in more focus being put on managing waste in healthcare. There is a lot of waste in healthcare. What has been done about tackling this issue? One of them is the Choosing Wisely initiative. Choosing Wisely aims to help consumers and clinicians in health decision-making by encouraging conversations around 4 basic questions: is this test and/or treatment evidence-based, really necessary, low harm and not a duplicate of a test or treatment already tried?

choosing wiselySo what sort of tests and treatments are of low or no value? If you navigate to the Lists tab, there are two sections. One is a list of professional medical and nursing associations who have provided a list of five tests or treatments that are low/no value. Click on each association to see their suggestions. The other is a list of common tests and treatments that consumers may need to make a decision about. Clicking on ‘Vitamin D tests’ you will see information about who should have these tests, if it is worth spending money on and whether the test adds any value. Consumer Reports are have teamed up with professional associations in putting together patient information, and consumers will see these when they click on a test or treatment they are interested in knowing more about.

Although this is an American website, this is still relevant because whatever type of health system you have, governments, hospitals and taxpayers are still funding healthcare one way or another.

Xerte – free online course builder

MANTRA, mentioned in the last post, has been put together and presented online using Xerte – browser-based tools that enable anyone with a internet connection and browser software to create interactive learning materials and courseware. No computer programming experience is needed.