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1.  Early Postoperative Mortality Following Joint Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review 
The Journal of rheumatology  2011;38(7):1507-1513.
Objective
To perform a systematic review of 30- and 90-day mortality rates in patients undergoing hip or knee arthroplasties.
Methods
Five databases were searched for English-language studies of mortality in hip or knee arthroplasties and the following data were extracted: patient characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity), arthroplasty characteristics (unilateral vs bilateral, hip vs knee), system factors (hospital volume and surgeon volume), year of study, etc… Mortality rates were compared across variable categories; proportions were compared using relative risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
Results
Out of 650 titles and abstracts, 80 studies qualified for data inclusion. 35%, 34% and 31% studies provided 30-, 90- and >90-day mortality rates. Overall 30-day mortality rates published across all types of arthroplasties were 0.3%, 90-day: 0.7%. For those reports with specific rates, 30-day mortality was significantly higher in men than women (1.8% vs 0.4%; relative risk (RR): 3.93, 95% confidence interval (CI), 3.30–4.68) and bilateral vs unilateral procedures (0.5% vs 0.3%; RR, 1.6, 95% CI:1.49–1.72), but no differences were noted by the underlying diagnosis of osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis (0.4% vs 0.3%; RR 0.77, 95% CI:0.48–1.24). 90-day mortality showed non-significant trends favoring women, osteoarthritis as the underlying diagnosis, and unilateral procedures.
Conclusions
Several demographic and surgical factors were associated with higher 30-day mortality rates following knee and hip arthroplasties. More studies are needed to examine the effect of body mass index, comorbidities, and other modifiable factors, in order to identify interventions designed to lower mortality rates following arthroplasty procedures.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.110280
PMCID: PMC4262531  PMID: 21724724
Mortality; Total Knee Arthroplasty; Total Hip Arthroplasty; Short-term mortality
2.  Updating the OMERACT Filter: Implications for imaging and soluble biomarkers 
The Journal of rheumatology  2014;41(5):1016-1024.
Objective
The OMERACT Filter provides a framework for the validation of outcome measures for use in rheumatology clinical research. However, imaging and biochemical measures may face additional validation challenges due to their technical nature. The Imaging and Soluble Biomarker Session at OMERACT 11 aimed to provide a guide for the iterative development of an imaging or biochemical measurement instrument so it can be used in therapeutic assessment.
Methods
A hierarchical structure was proposed, reflecting 3 dimensions needed for validating an imaging or biochemical measurement instrument: outcome domain(s), study setting and performance of the instrument. Movement along the axes in any dimension reflects increasing validation. For a given test instrument, the 3-axis structure assesses the extent to which the instrument is a validated measure for the chosen domain, whether it assesses a patient or disease centred-variable, and whether its technical performance is adequate in the context of its application. Some currently used imaging and soluble biomarkers for rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis and knee osteoarthritis were then evaluated using the original OMERACT filter and the newly proposed structure. Break-out groups critically reviewed the extent to which the candidate biomarkers complied with the proposed step-wise approach, as a way of examining the utility of the proposed 3 dimensional structure.
Results
Although there was a broad acceptance of the value of the proposed structure in general, some areas for improvement were suggested including clarification of criteria for achieving a certain level of validation and how to deal with extension of the structure to areas beyond clinical trials.
Conclusion
General support was obtained for a proposed tri-axis structure to assess validation of imaging and soluble biomarkers; nevertheless, additional work is required to better evaluate its place within the OMERACT Filter 2.0.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.131313
PMCID: PMC4223089  PMID: 24584916
biomarkers; imaging; OMERACT filter; validation framework
3.  Updating the OMERACT Filter: Core Areas as a basis for defining core outcome sets 
The Journal of rheumatology  2014;41(5):994-999.
Objective
The OMERACT Filter provides guidelines for the development and validation of outcome measures for use in clinical research. The ‘Truth’ section of the OMERACT Filter pre-supposes an explicit framework for identifying the relevant core outcomes that are universal to all studies of the effects of intervention effects. There is no published outline for instrument choice or development that is aimed at measuring outcome, was derived from broad consensus over its underlying philosophy, or includes a structured and documented critique. Therefore, a new proposal for defining core areas of measurement (“Filter 2.0 Core Areas of Measurement”) was presented at OMERACT 11 to explore areas of consensus and consider whether already endorsed core outcome sets fit in to this newly proposed framework.
Method
Discussion groups critically reviewed the extent to which case studies of current OMERACT Working Groups complied with or negated the proposed framework, whether these observations had a more general application, and what issues remained to be resolved.
Result
Although there was a broad acceptance of the framework in general, several important areas of construction, presentation and clarity of the framework were questioned. The discussion groups and subsequent feedback highlighted 20 such issues.
Conclusion
These issues will require resolution in order to reach consensus on accepting the proposed Filter 2.0 framework of Core Areas as the basis for the selection of Core Outcome Domains and hence appropriate Core Outcome Sets for clinical trials.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.131309
PMCID: PMC4217644  PMID: 24634204
4.  Updating the OMERACT Filter: Implications of Filter 2.0 to select outcome instruments through assessment of ‘Truth’: content, face and construct validity 
The Journal of rheumatology  2014;41(5):1000-1004.
Objective
The OMERACT Filter provides guidelines for the development and validation of outcome measures for use in clinical research. The ‘Truth’ section of the OMERACT Filter requires that criteria be met to demonstrate that the outcome instrument meets the criteria for content, face and construct validity.
Method
Discussion groups critically reviewed the variety of ways in which case studies of current OMERACT Working Groups complied with the ‘Truth’ component of the Filter and what issues remained to be resolved.
Results
The case studies showed that there is broad agreement on criteria for meeting the ‘Truth’ criteria through demonstration of content, face and construct validity; however several issues were identified that the Filter Working Group will need to address.
Conclusion
These issues will require resolution in order to reach consensus on how ‘Truth’ will be assessed for the proposed Filter 2.0 framework, for instruments to be endorsed by OMERACT.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.131310
PMCID: PMC4212637  PMID: 24692531
6.  Assessing bias in osteoarthritis trials included in Cochrane reviews: protocol for a meta-epidemiological study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(10):e005491.
Introduction
The validity of systematic reviews and meta-analysis depends on methodological quality and unbiased dissemination of trials. Our objective is to evaluate the association of estimates of treatment effects with different bias-related study characteristics in meta-analyses of interventions used for treating pain in osteoarthritis (OA). From the findings, we hope to consolidate guidance on interpreting OA trials in systematic reviews based on empirical evidence from Cochrane reviews.
Methods and analysis
Only systematic reviews that compare experimental interventions with sham, placebo or no intervention control will be considered eligible. Bias will be assessed with the risk of bias tool, used according to the Cochrane Collaboration’s recommendations. Furthermore, center status, trial size and funding will be assessed. The primary outcome (pain) will be abstracted from the first appearing forest plot for overall pain in the Cochrane review. Treatment effect sizes will be expressed as standardised mean differences (SMDs), where the difference in mean values available from the forest plots is divided by the pooled SD. To empirically assess the risk of bias in treatment benefits, we will perform stratified analyses of the trials from the included meta-analyses and assess the interaction between trial characteristics and treatment effect. A relevant study-level covariate is defined as one that decreases the between-study variance (τ2, estimated as Tau-squared) as a consequence of inclusion in the mixed effects statistical model.
Ethics and dissemination
Meta-analyses and randomised controlled trials provide the most reliable basis for treatment of patients with OA, but the actual impact of bias is unclear. This study will systematically examine the methodological quality in OA Cochrane reviews and explore the effect estimates behind possible bias. Since our study does not collect primary data, no formal ethical assessment and informed consent are required.
Trial registration number
PROSPERO (CRD42013006924).
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005491
PMCID: PMC4187994  PMID: 25280805
osteoarthritis; meta-analysis; meta-epidemiology; risk of bias
7.  Electronic retrieval of health information by healthcare providers to improve practice and patient care 
Background
The movement towards evidence-based practice makes explicit the need for access to current best evidence to improve health. Advances in electronic technologies have made health information more available, but does availability affect the rate of use of evidence in practice?
Objectives
To assess the effectiveness of interventions intended to provide electronic retrieval (access to information) to health information by healthcare providers to improve practice and patient care.
Search methods
We obtained studies from computerized searches of multiple electronic bibliographic databases, supplemented by checking reference lists, and consultation with experts.
Selection criteria
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) including cluster randomized trials (CRCTs), controlled clinical trials (CCT), and interrupted time series analyses (ITS) of any language publication status examining interventions of effectiveness of electronic retrieval of health information by healthcare providers.
Data collection and analysis
Duplicate relevancy screening of searches, data abstraction and risk of bias assessment was undertaken.
Main results
We found two studies that examined this question. Neither study found any changes in professional behavior following an intervention that facilitated electronic retrieval of health information. There was some evidence of improvements in knowledge about the electronic sources of information reported in one study. Neither study assessed changes in patient outcomes or the costs of provision of the electronic resource and the implementation of the recommended evidence-based practices.
Authors’ conclusions
Overall there was insufficient evidence to support or refute the use of electronic retrieval of healthcare information by healthcare providers to improve practice and patient care.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004749.pub2
PMCID: PMC4164913  PMID: 19588361
Databases, Bibliographic [utilization]; Evidence-Based Medicine [*statistics & numerical data]; Health Personnel [*statistics & numerical data]; Information Storage and Retrieval [*utilization]; Patient Care; Professional Practice [*standards]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Humans
8.  Decision aid for patients considering total knee arthroplasty with preference report for surgeons: a pilot randomized controlled trial 
Background
To evaluate feasibility and potential effectiveness of a patient decision aid (PtDA) for patients and a preference report for surgeons to reduce wait times and improve decision quality in patients with osteoarthritis considering total knee replacement.
Methods
A prospective two-arm pilot randomized controlled trial. Patients with osteoarthritis were eligible if they understood English and were referred for surgical consultation about an initial total knee arthroplasty at a Canadian orthopaedic joint assessment clinic. Patients were randomized to the PtDA intervention or usual education. The intervention was an osteoarthritis PtDA for patients and a one-page preference report summarizing patients’ clinical and decisional data for their surgeon. The main feasibility outcomes were rates of recruitment and questionnaire completion; the preliminary effectiveness outcomes were wait times and decision quality.
Results
Of 180 patients eligible for surgical consultation, 142 (79%) were recruited and randomized to the PtDA intervention (n = 71) or usual education (n = 71). Data collection yielded a 93% questionnaire completion rate with less than 1% missing items. After one year, 13% of patients remained on the surgical wait list. The median time from referral to being off the wait list (censored using survival analysis techniques) was 33.4 weeks for the PtDA group (n = 69, 95% CI: 26.0, 41.4) and 33.0 weeks for usual education (n = 71, 95% CI: 26.1, 39.9). Patients exposed to the PtDA had higher decision quality based on knowledge (71% versus 47%; p < 0.0001) and quality decision being an informed choice that is consistent with their values for option outcomes (56.4% versus 25.0%; p < 0.001).
Conclusions
Recruitment of patients with osteoarthritis considering surgery and data collection were feasible. As some patients remained on the surgical waiting list after one year, follow-up should be extended to two years. Patients exposed to the PtDA achieved higher decision quality compared to those receiving usual education but there was no difference in wait for surgery.
Trials registration
ClinicalTrials.Gov NCT00743951
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-54
PMCID: PMC3937455  PMID: 24564877
Patient decision aids; Patient preferences; Osteoarthritis; Joint arthroplasty; Wait times; Decision quality
9.  Delivery of primary health care to persons who are socio-economically disadvantaged: does the organizational delivery model matter? 
Background
As health systems evolve, it is essential to evaluate their impact on the delivery of health services to socially disadvantaged populations. We evaluated the delivery of primary health services for different socio-economic groups and assessed the performance of different organizational models in terms of equality of health care delivery in Ontario, Canada.
Methods
Cross sectional study of 5,361 patients receiving care from primary care practices using Capitation, Salaried or Fee-For-Service remuneration models. We assessed self-reported health status of patients, visit duration, number of visits per year, quality of health service delivery, and quality of health promotion. We used multi-level regressions to study service delivery across socio-economic groups and within each delivery model. Identified disparities were further analysed using a t-test to determine the impact of service delivery model on equity.
Results
Low income individuals were more likely to be women, unemployed, recent immigrants, and in poorer health. These individuals were overrepresented in the Salaried model, reported more visits/year across all models, and tended to report longer visits in the Salaried model. Measures of primary care services generally did not differ significantly between low and higher income/education individuals; when they did, the difference favoured better service delivery for at-risk groups. At-risk patients in the Salaried model were somewhat more likely to report health promotion activities than patients from Capitation and Fee-For-Service models. At-risk patients from Capitation models reported a smaller increase in the number of additional clinic visits/year than Fee-For-Service and Salaried models. At-risk patients reported better first contact accessibility than their non-at-risk counterparts in the Fee-For-Service model only.
Conclusions
Primary care service measures did not differ significantly across socio-economic status or primary care delivery models. In Ontario, capitation-based remuneration is age and sex adjusted only. Patients of low socio-economic status had fewer additional visits compared to those with high socio-economic status under the Capitation model. This raises the concern that Capitation may not support the provision of additional care for more vulnerable groups. Regions undertaking primary care model reforms need to consider the potential impact of the changes on the more vulnerable populations.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-517
PMCID: PMC3927777  PMID: 24341530
Primary care; Health equity; Organizational models; Physician remuneration
10.  Assessing and Comparing Global Health Competencies in Rehabilitation Students 
Purpose. Globalization is contributing to changes in health outcomes and healthcare use in many ways, including health professionals' practices. The objective of this study was to assess and compare global health competencies in rehabilitation students. Method. Online cross-sectional survey of physiotherapy and occupational therapy students from five universities within Ontario. We used descriptive statistics to analyze students' perceived knowledge, skills, and learning needs in global health. We used Chi-square tests, with significance set at P < 0.05, to compare results across professions. Results. One hundred and sixty-six students completed the survey. In general, both physiotherapy and occupational therapy students scored higher on the “relationship between work and health,” “relationship between income and health,” and “socioeconomic position (SEP) and impact on health” and lower on “Access to healthcare for low income nations,” “mechanisms for why racial and ethnic disparities exist,” and “racial stereotyping and medical decision making.” Occupational therapy students placed greater importance on learning concerning social determinants of health (P = 0.03). Conclusion. This paper highlights several opportunities for improvement in global health education for rehabilitation students. Educators and professionals should consider developing strategies to address these needs and provide more global health opportunities in rehabilitation training programs.
doi:10.1155/2013/208187
PMCID: PMC3872014  PMID: 24381763
11.  Usability testing of ANSWER: a web-based methotrexate decision aid for patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Background
Decision aids are evidence-based tools designed to inform people of the potential benefit and harm of treatment options, clarify their preferences and provide a shared decision-making structure for discussion at a clinic visit. For patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who are considering methotrexate, we have developed a web-based patient decision aid called the ANSWER (Animated, Self-serve, Web-based Research Tool). This study aimed to: 1) assess the usability of the ANSWER prototype; 2) identify strengths and limitations of the ANSWER from the patient’s perspective.
Methods
The ANSWER prototype consisted of: 1) six animated patient stories and narrated information on the evidence of methotrexate for RA; 2) interactive questionnaires to clarify patients’ treatment preferences. Eligible participants for the usability test were patients with RA who had been prescribed methotrexate. They were asked to verbalize their thoughts (i.e., think aloud) while using the ANSWER, and to complete the System Usability Scale (SUS) to assess overall usability (range = 0-100; higher = more user friendly). Participants were audiotaped and observed, and field notes were taken. The testing continued until no new modifiable issues were found. We used descriptive statistics to summarize participant characteristics and the SUS scores. Content analysis was used to identified usability issues and navigation problems.
Results
15 patients participated in the usability testing. The majority were aged 50 or over and were university/college graduates (n = 8, 53.4%). On average they took 56 minutes (SD = 34.8) to complete the tool. The mean SUS score was 81.2 (SD = 13.5). Content analysis of audiotapes and field notes revealed four categories of modifiable usability issues: 1) information delivery (i.e., clarity of the information and presentation style); 2) navigation control (i.e., difficulties in recognizing and using the navigation control buttons); 3) layout (i.e., position of the videos, text, diagrams and navigation buttons); 4) aesthetic (i.e., the colour, look and feel of the online tool).
Conclusions
Although the SUS score indicated high usability before and after major modification, findings from the think-aloud sessions illustrated areas that required further refinement. Our results highlight the importance of formative evaluation in usability testing.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-131
PMCID: PMC4220621  PMID: 24289731
Patient decision aid; Rheumatoid arthritis; Methotrexate; Usability test
13.  Testing the PRISMA-Equity 2012 Reporting Guideline: the Perspectives of Systematic Review Authors 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75122.
Reporting guidelines can be used to encourage standardised and comprehensive reporting of health research. In light of the global commitment to health equity, we have previously developed and published a reporting guideline for equity-focused systematic reviews (PRISMA-E 2012). The objectives of this study were to explore the utility of the equity extension items included in PRISMA-E 2012 from a systematic review author perspective, including facilitators and barriers to its use. This will assist in designing dissemination and knowledge translation strategies. We conducted a survey of systematic review authors to expose them to the new items in PRISMA-E 2012, establish the extent to which they had historically addressed those items in their own reviews, and gather feedback on the usefulness of the new items. Data were analysed using Microsoft Excel 2008 and Stata (version 11.2 for Mac). Of 151 respondents completing the survey, 18.5% (95% CI: 12.7% to 25.7%) had not heard of the PRISMA statement before, although 83.4% (95% CI: 77.5% to 89.3%) indicated that they plan to use PRISMA-E 2012 in the future, depending on the focus of their review. Most (68.9%; 95% CI: 60.8% to 76.2%) thought that using PRISMA-E 2012 would lead them to conduct their reviews differently. Important facilitators to using PRISMA-E 2012 identified by respondents were journal endorsement and incorporation of the elements of the guideline into systematic review software. Barriers identified were lack of time, word limits and the availability of equity data in primary research. This study has been the first to ‘road-test’ the new PRISMA-E 2012 reporting guideline and the findings are encouraging. They confirm the acceptability and potential utility of the guideline to assist review authors in reporting on equity in their reviews. The uptake and impact of PRISMA-E 2012 over time on design, conduct and reporting of primary research and systematic reviews should continue to be examined.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075122
PMCID: PMC3794945  PMID: 24130684
14.  Outcome measures in rheumatoid arthritis randomised trials over the last 50 years 
Trials  2013;14:324.
Background
The development and application of standardised sets of outcomes to be measured and reported in clinical trials have the potential to increase the efficiency and value of research. One of the most notable of the current outcome sets began nearly 20 years ago: the World Health Organization and International League of Associations for Rheumatology core set of outcomes for rheumatoid arthritis clinical trials, originating from the OMERACT (Outcome Measures in Rheumatology) Initiative. This study assesses the use of this core outcome set by randomised trials in rheumatology.
Methods
An observational review was carried out of 350 randomised trials for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis identified through The Cochrane Library (up to and including September 2012 issue). Reports of these trials were evaluated to determine whether or not there were trends in the proportion of trials reporting on the full set of core outcomes over time. Researchers who conducted trials after the publication of the core set were contacted to assess their awareness of it and to collect reasons for non-inclusion of the full core set of outcomes in the study.
Results
Since the introduction of the core set of outcomes for rheumatoid arthritis, the consistency of measurement of the core set of outcomes has improved, although variation in the choice of measurement instrument remains. The majority of trialists who responded said that they would consider using the core outcome set in the design of a new trial.
Conclusions
This observational review suggests that a higher percentage of trialists conducting trials in rheumatoid arthritis are now measuring the rheumatoid arthritis core outcome set. Core outcome sets have the potential to improve the evidence base for health care, but consideration must be given to the methods for disseminating their availability amongst the relevant communities.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-324
PMCID: PMC3852710  PMID: 24103529
COMET; Core outcome set; OMERACT; Outcome reporting bias; Rheumatoid arthritis
15.  Health equity: evidence synthesis and knowledge translation methods 
Systematic Reviews  2013;2:43.
Background
At the Rio Summit in 2011 on Social Determinants of Health, the global community recognized a pressing need to take action on reducing health inequities. This requires an improved evidence base on the effects of national and international policies on health inequities. Although systematic reviews are recognized as an important source for evidence-informed policy, they have been criticized for failing to assess effects on health equity.
Methods
This article summarizes guidance on both conducting systematic reviews with a focus on health equity and on methods to translate their findings to different audiences. This guidance was developed based on a series of methodology meetings, previous guidance, a recently developed reporting guideline for equity-focused systematic reviews (PRISMA-Equity 2012) and a systematic review of methods to assess health equity in systematic reviews.
Results
We make ten recommendations for conducting equity-focused systematic reviews; and five considerations for knowledge translation. Illustrative examples of equity-focused reviews are provided where these methods have been used.
Conclusions
Implementation of the recommendations in this article is one step toward monitoring the impact of national and international policies and programs on health equity, as recommended by the 2011 World Conference on Social Determinants of Health.
doi:10.1186/2046-4053-2-43
PMCID: PMC3702469  PMID: 23799964
Health Equity; Evidence Synthesis; Knowledge Translation; Systematic Reviews
16.  The Uptake of Integrated Perinatal Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e56550.
Background
The objective of this review was to assess the uptake of WHO recommended integrated perinatal prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV interventions in low- and middle-income countries.
Methods and Findings
We searched 21 databases for observational studies presenting uptake of integrated PMTCT programs in low- and middle-income countries. Forty-one studies on programs implemented between 1997 and 2006, met inclusion criteria. The proportion of women attending antenatal care who were counseled and who were tested was high; 96% (range 30–100%) and 81% (range 26–100%), respectively. However, the overall median proportion of HIV positive women provided with antiretroviral prophylaxis in antenatal care and attending labor ward was 55% (range 22–99%) and 60% (range 19–100%), respectively. The proportion of women with unknown HIV status, tested for HIV at labor ward was 70%. Overall, 79% (range 44–100%) of infants were tested for HIV and 11% (range 3–18%) of them were HIV positive. We designed two PMTCT cascades using studies with outcomes for all perinatal PMTCT interventions which showed that an estimated 22% of all HIV positive women attending antenatal care and 11% of all HIV positive women delivering at labor ward were not notified about their HIV status and did not participate in PMTCT program. Only 17% of HIV positive antenatal care attendees and their infants are known to have taken antiretroviral prophylaxis.
Conclusion
The existing evidence provides information only about the initial PMTCT programs which were based on the old WHO PMTCT guidelines. The uptake of counseling and HIV testing among pregnant women attending antenatal care was high, but their retention in PMTCT programs was low. The majority of women in the included studies did not receive ARV prophylaxis in antenatal care; nor did they attend labor ward. More studies evaluating the uptake in current PMTCT programs are urgently needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056550
PMCID: PMC3590218  PMID: 23483887
17.  Systematic reviews need to consider applicability to disadvantaged populations: inter-rater agreement for a health equity plausibility algorithm 
Background
Systematic reviews have been challenged to consider effects on disadvantaged groups. A priori specification of subgroup analyses is recommended to increase the credibility of these analyses. This study aimed to develop and assess inter-rater agreement for an algorithm for systematic review authors to predict whether differences in effect measures are likely for disadvantaged populations relative to advantaged populations (only relative effect measures were addressed).
Methods
A health equity plausibility algorithm was developed using clinimetric methods with three items based on literature review, key informant interviews and methodology studies. The three items dealt with the plausibility of differences in relative effects across sex or socioeconomic status (SES) due to: 1) patient characteristics; 2) intervention delivery (i.e., implementation); and 3) comparators. Thirty-five respondents (consisting of clinicians, methodologists and research users) assessed the likelihood of differences across sex and SES for ten systematic reviews with these questions. We assessed inter-rater reliability using Fleiss multi-rater kappa.
Results
The proportion agreement was 66% for patient characteristics (95% confidence interval: 61%-71%), 67% for intervention delivery (95% confidence interval: 62% to 72%) and 55% for the comparator (95% confidence interval: 50% to 60%). Inter-rater kappa, assessed with Fleiss kappa, ranged from 0 to 0.199, representing very low agreement beyond chance.
Conclusions
Users of systematic reviews rated that important differences in relative effects across sex and socioeconomic status were plausible for a range of individual and population-level interventions. However, there was very low inter-rater agreement for these assessments. There is an unmet need for discussion of plausibility of differential effects in systematic reviews. Increased consideration of external validity and applicability to different populations and settings is warranted in systematic reviews to meet this need.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-12-187
PMCID: PMC3552943  PMID: 23253632
Systematic reviews; Applicability; Health equity; Sex and gender; Socioeconomic status
18.  The implementation of a community-based aerobic walking program for mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis: A knowledge translation randomized controlled trial: Part II: Clinical outcomes 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:1073.
Background
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder in the world, as it is appears to be prevalent among 80% of individuals over the age of 75. Although physical activities such as walking have been scientifically proven to improve physical function and arthritic symptoms, individuals with OA tend to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. There is therefore a need to improve knowledge translation in order to influence individuals to adopt effective self-management interventions, such as an adapted walking program.
Methods
A single-blind, randomized control trial was conducted. Subjects (n = 222) were randomized to one of three knowledge translation groups: 1) Walking and Behavioural intervention (WB) (18 males, 57 females) which included the supervised community-based aerobic walking program combined with a behavioural intervention and an educational pamphlet on the benefits of walking; 2) Walking intervention (W) (24 males, 57 females) wherein participants only received the supervised community-based aerobic walking program intervention and the educational pamphlet; 3) Self-directed control (C) (32 males, 52 females) wherein participants only received the educational pamphlet. One-way analyses of variance were used to test for differences in quality of life, adherence, confidence, and clinical outcomes among the study groups at each 3 month assessment during the 12-month intervention period and 6-month follow-up period.
Results
The clinical and quality of life outcomes improved among participants in each of the three comparative groups. However, there were few statistically significant differences observed for quality of life and clinical outcomes at long-term measurements at 12-months end of intervention and at 6- months post intervention (18-month follow-up). Outcome results varied among the three groups.
Conclusion
The three groups were equivalent when determining the effectiveness of knowledge uptake and improvements in quality of life and other clinical outcomes. OA can be managed through the implementation of a proven effective walking program in existing community-based walking clubs.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials IRSCTNO9193542
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1073
PMCID: PMC3529193  PMID: 23234575
Osteoarthritis; Clinical trial; Walking; Compliance; Adherence; Education; Behavioural intervention; Guidelines implementation; Knowledge translation
19.  PRISMA-Equity 2012 Extension: Reporting Guidelines for Systematic Reviews with a Focus on Health Equity 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(10):e1001333.
Vivian Welch and colleagues present consensus-based guidelines for reporting equity-focused systematic reviews, the PRISMA-Equity extension.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001333
PMCID: PMC3484052  PMID: 23222917
20.  The implementation of a community-based aerobic walking program for mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis (OA): a knowledge translation (KT) randomized controlled trial (RCT): Part I: The Uptake of the Ottawa Panel clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:871.
Background
The implementation of evidence based clinical practice guidelines on self-management interventions to patients with chronic diseases is a complex process. A multifaceted strategy may offer an effective knowledge translation (KT) intervention to promote knowledge uptake and improve adherence in an effective walking program based on the Ottawa Panel Evidence Based Clinical Practice Guidelines among individuals with moderate osteoarthritis (OA).
Methods
A single-blind, randomized control trial was conducted. Patients with mild to moderate (OA) of the knee (n=222) were randomized to one of three KT groups: 1) Walking and Behavioural intervention (WB) (18 males, 57 females) which included the supervised community-based aerobic walking program combined with a behavioural intervention and an educational pamphlet on the benefits of walking for OA; 2) Walking intervention (W) (24 males, 57 females) wherein participants only received the supervised community-based aerobic walking program intervention and the educational pamphlet; 3) Self-directed control (C) (32 males, 52 females) wherein participants only received the educational pamphlet. One-way analyses of variance were used to test for differences in quality of life, adherence, confidence, and clinical outcomes among the study groups at each 3 month assessment during the 12-month intervention period and 6-month follow-up period.
Results
Short-term program adherence was greater in WB compared to C (p<0.012) after 3 months. No statistical significance (p> 0.05) was observed for long-term adherence (6 to 12 months), and total adherence between the three groups. The three knowledge translation strategies demonstrated equivalent long-term results for the implementation of a walking program for older individuals with moderate OA. Lower dropout rates as well as higher retention rates were observed for WB at 12 and 18 months.
Conclusion
The additional knowledge translation behavioural component facilitated the implementation of clinical practice guidelines on walking over a short-term period. More studies are needed to improve the long-term walking adherence or longer guidelines uptake on walking among participants with OA. Particular attention should be taken into account related to patient’s characteristic and preference. OA can be managed through the implementation of a walking program based on clinical practice guidelines in existing community-based walking clubs as well as at home with the minimal support of an exercise therapist or a trained volunteer.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials IRSCTNO9193542
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-871
PMCID: PMC3491047  PMID: 23061875
Osteoarthritis; Clinical trial; Walking; Adherence; Education; Behavioural intervention; Guidelines implementation; Knowledge translation
21.  Development of guidelines for recently arrived immigrants and refugees to Canada: Delphi consensus on selecting preventable and treatable conditions 
Background:
Setting priorities is critical to ensure guidelines are relevant and acceptable to users, and that time, resources and expertise are used cost-effectively in their development. Stakeholder engagement and the use of an explicit procedure for developing recommendations are critical components in this process.
Methods:
We used a modified Delphi consensus process to select 20 high-priority conditions for guideline development. Canadian primary care practitioners who care for immigrants and refugees used criteria that emphasize inequities in health to identify clinical care gaps.
Results:
Nine infectious diseases were selected, as well as four mental health conditions, three maternal and child health issues, caries and periodontal disease, iron-deficiency anemia, diabetes and vision screening.
Interpretation:
Immigrant and refugee medicine covers the full spectrum of primary care, and although infectious disease continues to be an important area of concern, we are now seeing mental health and chronic diseases as key considerations for recently arriving immigrants and refugees.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.090290
PMCID: PMC3168668  PMID: 20547714
22.  Evaluation of evidence-based literature and formulation of recommendations for the clinical preventive guidelines for immigrants and refugees in Canada 
Background:
This article describes the evidence review and guideline development method developed for the Clinical Preventive Guidelines for Immigrants and Refugees in Canada by the Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health Guideline Committee.
Methods:
The Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) best-practice framework was combined with the recently developed Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach to produce evidence-based clinical guidelines for immigrants and refugees in Canada.
Results:
A systematic approach was designed to produce the evidence reviews and apply the GRADE approach, including building on evidence from previous systematic reviews, searching for and comparing evidence between general and specific immigrant populations, and applying the GRADE criteria for making recommendations. This method was used for priority health conditions that had been selected by practitioners caring for immigrants and refugees in Canada.
Interpretation:
This article outlines the 14-step method that was defined to standardize the guideline development process for each priority health condition.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.090289
PMCID: PMC3168669  PMID: 20573711
23.  Developing core outcome sets for clinical trials: issues to consider 
Trials  2012;13:132.
The selection of appropriate outcomes or domains is crucial when designing clinical trials in order to compare directly the effects of different interventions in ways that minimize bias. If the findings are to influence policy and practice then the chosen outcomes need to be relevant and important to key stakeholders including patients and the public, health care professionals and others making decisions about health care. There is a growing recognition that insufficient attention has been paid to the outcomes measured in clinical trials. These issues could be addressed through the development and use of an agreed standardized collection of outcomes, known as a core outcome set, which should be measured and reported, as a minimum, in all trials for a specific clinical area. Accumulating work in this area has identified the need for general guidance on the development of core outcome sets. Key issues to consider in the development of a core outcome set include its scope, the stakeholder groups to involve, choice of consensus method and the achievement of a consensus.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-132
PMCID: PMC3472231  PMID: 22867278
Core outcome set; Outcome reporting bias; Clinical trials; Systematic review; Methodology; Consensus
24.  Measurement Properties of Questionnaires Assessing Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Pediatrics: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39611.
Objective
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is commonly used by children, but estimates of that use vary widely partly due to the range of questionnaires used to assess CAM use. However, no studies have attempted to appraise measurement properties of these questionnaires. The aim of this systematic review was to critically appraise and summarize measurement properties of questionnaires of CAM use in pediatrics.
Study design
A search strategy was implemented in major electronic databases in March 2011 and conference websites, scientific journals and experts were consulted. Studies were included if they mentioned a questionnaire assessing the prevalence of CAM use in pediatrics. Members of the team independently rated the methodological quality of the studies (using the COSMIN checklist) and measurement properties of the questionnaires (using the Terwee and Cohen criteria).
Results
A total of 96 CAM questionnaires were found in 104 publications. The COSMIN checklist showed that no studies reported adequate methodological quality. The Terwee criteria showed that all included CAM questionnaires had indeterminate measurement properties. According to the Cohen score, none were considered to be a well-established assessment, two approached the level of a well-established assessment, seven were promising assessments and the remainder (n = 87) did not reach the score’s minimum standards.
Conclusion
None of the identified CAM questionnaires have been thoroughly validated. This systematic review highlights the need for proper validation of CAM questionnaires in pediatrics, which may in turn lead to improved research and knowledge translation about CAM in clinical practice.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039611
PMCID: PMC3387262  PMID: 22768098
25.  Integrating Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Programs to Improve Uptake: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35268.
Background
We performed a systematic review to assess the effect of integrated perinatal prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV interventions compared to non- or partially integrated services on the uptake in low- and middle-income countries.
Methods
We searched for experimental, quasi-experimental and controlled observational studies in any language from 21 databases and grey literature sources.
Results
Out of 28 654 citations retrieved, five studies met our inclusion criteria. A cluster randomized controlled trial reported higher probability of nevirapine uptake at the labor wards implementing HIV testing and structured nevirapine adherence assessment (RRR 1.37, bootstrapped 95% CI, 1.04–1.77). A stepped wedge design study showed marked improvement in antiretroviral therapy (ART) enrolment (44.4% versus 25.3%, p<0.001) and initiation (32.9% versus 14.4%, p<0.001) in integrated care, but the median gestational age of ART initiation (27.1 versus 27.7 weeks, p = 0.4), ART duration (10.8 versus 10.0 weeks, p = 0.3) or 90 days ART retention (87.8% versus 91.3%, p = 0.3) did not differ significantly. A cohort study reported no significant difference either in the ART coverage (55% versus 48% versus 47%, p = 0.29) or eight weeks of ART duration before the delivery (50% versus 42% versus 52%; p = 0.96) between integrated, proximal and distal partially integrated care. Two before and after studies assessed the impact of integration on HIV testing uptake in antenatal care. The first study reported that significantly more women received information on PMTCT (92% versus 77%, p<0.001), were tested (76% versus 62%, p<0.001) and learned their HIV status (66% versus 55%, p<0.001) after integration. The second study also reported significant increase in HIV testing uptake after integration (98.8% versus 52.6%, p<0.001).
Conclusion
Limited, non-generalizable evidence supports the effectiveness of integrated PMTCT programs. More research measuring coverage and other relevant outcomes is urgently needed to inform the design of services delivering PMTCT programs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035268
PMCID: PMC3338706  PMID: 22558134

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