Research Articles (Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care)

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    Emerging opportunities provided by technology to advance research in child health globally
    (SAGE, 2020-05-17) van Heerden, Alastair; Leppanen, Jukka; Rotheram-Borus, Mary Jane; Worthman, Carol M.; Kohrt, Brandon A.; Skeen, Sarah; Giese, Sonja; Hughes, Rob; Bohmer, Lisa; Tomlinson, Mark, (Mark R.)
    Current approaches to longitudinal assessment of children’s developmental and psychological well-being, as mandated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, are expensive and time consuming. Substantive understanding of global progress toward these goals will require a suite of new robust, cost-effective research tools designed to assess key developmental processes in diverse settings. While first steps have been taken toward this end through efforts such as the National Institutes of Health’s Toolbox, experience-near approaches including naturalistic observation have remained too costly and time consuming to scale to the population level. This perspective presents 4 emerging technologies with high potential for advancing the field of child health and development research, namely (1) affective computing, (2) ubiquitous computing, (3) eye tracking, and (4) machine learning. By drawing attention of scientists, policy makers, investors/funders, and the media to the applications and potential risks of these emerging opportunities, we hope to inspire a fresh wave of innovation and new solutions to the global challenges faced by children and their families.
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    Understanding the implications of the sustainable development goals for health policy and systems research : results of a research priority setting exercise
    (BMC, 2020-01) Bennett, Sara; Jessani, Nasreen; Glandon, Douglas; Qiu, Mary; Scott, Kerry; Meghani, Ankita; El-Jardali, Fadi; Maceira, Daniel; Javadi, Dena; Ghaffar, Abdul
    Background: Given the paradigmatic shift represented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as compared to the Millennium Development Goals - in particular their broad and interconnected nature - a new set of health policy and systems research (HPSR) priorities are needed to inform strategies to address these interconnected goals. Objectives: To identify high priority HPSR questions linked to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Methods: We focused on three themes that we considered to be central to achieving the health related SDGs: (i) Protecting and promoting access to health services through systems of social protection (ii) Strengthening multisectoral collaborations for health and (iii) Developing more participatory and accountable institutions. We conducted 54 semi-structured interviews and two focus group discussions to investigate policy-maker perspectives on evidence needs. We also conducted an overview of literature reviews in each theme. Information from these sub-studies was extracted into a matrix of possible research questions and developed into three domain-specific lists of 30–36 potential priority questions. Topic experts from the global research community then refined and ranked the proposed questions through an online platform. A final webinar on each theme sought feedback on findings. Results: Policy-makers continue to demand HPSR for many well-established issues such as health financing, human resources for health, and service delivery. In terms of service delivery, policy-makers wanted to know how best to strengthen primary health care and community-based systems. In the themes of social protection and multisectoral collaboration, prioritized questions had a strong emphasis on issues of practical implementation. For participatory and accountable institutions, the two priority questions focused on political factors affecting the adoption of accountability measures, as well as health worker reactions to such measures. Conclusions: To achieve the SDGs, there is a continuing need for research in some already well established areas of HPSR as well as key areas highlighted by decision-makers. Identifying appropriate conceptual frameworks as well as typologies of examples may be a prerequisite for answering some of the substantive policymaker questions. In addition, implementation research engaging non-traditional stakeholders outside of the health sector will be critical.
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    Reporting of methodological studies in health research : a protocol for the development of the Methodological Study reporting Checklist (MISTIC)
    (BMJ Publishing, 2020-12) Lawson, Daeria O.; Puljak, Livia; Pieper, Dawid; Schandelmaier, Stefan; Collins, Gary S.; Brignardello-Petersen, Romina; Moher, David; Tugwell, Peter; Welch, Vivian A.; Samaan, Zainab; Thombs, Brett D.; Nørskov, Anders K.; Jakobsen, Janus C.; Allison, David B.; Mayo-Wilson, Evan; Young, Taryn; Chan, An-Wen; Briel, Matthias; Guyatt, Gordon H.; Thabane, Lehana; Mbuagbaw, Lawrence
    Introduction: Methodological studies (ie, studies that evaluate the design, conduct, analysis or reporting of other studies in health research) address various facets of health research including, for instance, data collection techniques, differences in approaches to analyses, reporting quality, adherence to guidelines or publication bias. As a result, methodological studies can help to identify knowledge gaps in the methodology of health research and strategies for improvement in research practices. Differences in methodological study names and a lack of reporting guidance contribute to lack of comparability across studies and difficulties in identifying relevant previous methodological studies. This paper outlines the methods we will use to develop an evidence-based tool—the Methodological Study reporting Checklist—to harmonise naming conventions and improve the reporting of methodological studies. Methods and analysis: We will search for methodological studies in the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Cochrane Library, Embase, MEDLINE, Web of Science, check reference lists and contact experts in the field. We will extract and summarise data on the study names, design and reporting features of the included methodological studies. Consensus on study terms and recommended reporting items will be achieved via video conference meetings with a panel of experts including researchers who have published methodological studies. Ethics and dissemination: The consensus study has been exempt from ethics review by the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board. The results of the review and the reporting guideline will be disseminated in stakeholder meetings, conferences, peer-reviewed publications, in requests to journal editors (to endorse or make the guideline a requirement for authors), and on the Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR) Network and reporting guideline websites. Registration: We have registered the development of the reporting guideline with the EQUATOR Network and publicly posted this project on the Open Science.
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    Xpert MTB/RIF and Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra for pulmonary tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance in adults
    (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. on behalf of The Cochrane Collaboration, 2019) Horne, David J.; Kohli, Mikashmi; Zifodya, Jerry S.; Schiller, Ian; Dendukuri, Nandini; Tollefson, Deanna; Schumache, Samuel G.; Ochodo, Eleanor A.; Pai, Madhukar; Steingart, Karen R.
    Background: Xpert MTB/RIF (Xpert MTB/RIF) and Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra (Xpert Ultra), the newest version, are the only World Health Organization (WHO)- recommended rapid tests that simultaneously detect tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance in persons with signs and symptoms of tuberculosis, at lower health system levels. A previous Cochrane Review found Xpert MTB/RIF sensitive and specific for tuberculosis (Steingart 2014). Since the previous review, new studies have been published. We performed a review update for an upcoming WHO policy review. Objectives: To determine diagnostic accuracy of Xpert MTB/RIF and Xpert Ultra for tuberculosis in adults with presumptive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and for rifampicin resistance in adults with presumptive rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis. Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index, Web of Science, Latin American Caribbean Health Sciences Literature, Scopus, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Registry, and ProQuest, to 11 October 2018, without language restriction. Selection criteria: Randomized trials, cross-sectional, and cohort studies using respiratory specimens that evaluated Xpert MTB/RIF, Xpert Ultra, or both against the reference standard, culture for tuberculosis and culture-based drug susceptibility testing or MTBDRplus for rifampicin resistance. Data collection and analysis: Four review authors independently extracted data using a standardized form. When possible, we also extracted data by smear and HIV status. We assessed study quality using QUADAS-2 and performed meta-analyses to estimate pooled sensitivity and specificity separately for tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance. We investigated potential sources of heterogeneity. Most analyses used a bivariate randome Kects model. For tuberculosis detection, we first estimated accuracy using all included studies and then only the subset of studies where participants were unselected, i.e. not selected based on prior microscopy testing. Main results: We identified in total 95 studies (77 new studies since the previous review): 86 studies (42,091 participants) evaluated Xpert MTB/RIF for tuberculosis and 57 studies (8287 participants) for rifampicin resistance. One study compared Xpert MTB/RIF and Xpert Ultra on the same participant specimen.
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    University curricula in evidence-informed decision making and knowledge translation : integrating best practice, innovation, and experience for effective teaching and learning
    (Frontiers Media, 2019) Jessani, Nasreen; Hendricks, Lynne; Nicol, Liesl; Young, Taryn
    As attention to Evidence Informed Decision Making (EIDM) and Knowledge Translation (KT) in research, policy and practice grows, so does a need for capacity enhancement in amongst evidence producers and evidence users. Recognizing that most researchers enter the professional sphere with little or no appreciation of the importance and power of EIDM, the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, spearheaded the development and accreditation of a foundational course titled Evidence-Informed Decision making: The Art, Science and Complexity of knowledge translation. The curriculum draws on the principles of adult learning and effective teaching that includes integrating seven key aspects: (1) extraction of intuitive and tacit knowledge (2) autonomous knowledge generation (3) diverse perspectives (4) learning by doing (5) peer-support and critique (6) facilitator coaching and (7) constant reflection. In this paper, we reflect on these techniques in enhancing understanding and utilization of KT in advancing EIDM. The in-person short course has been offered 5 times since its launch in September 2017 with attendance by ~85 senior researchers and government officials—each of whom left the workshop with three completed outputs: a stakeholder matrix, an engagement strategy for their chosen stakeholder and a plan for evaluating the impact of their KT strategy. Interest in the course has grown considerably: (a) Requests from local institutes of research for dedicated training to their staff; (b) Incorporation into international program partner capacity enhancing strategies; (c) Publication of a book chapter designed using course content; (d) Adaptation and utilization of the templates and tools as teaching resources (e) Informing organizational stakeholder engagement strategies (f) Adaptation of the modules for conference capacity building workshops. In summary, designing courses that take into consideration adult principles of learning is not a new concept. However, effective delivery of such courses is still nascent. We found that integrating the seven aspects mentioned above, including researchers together with decision-makers in the workshops, and having an experienced facilitator is critical for effective learning. Enhancing knowledge and skills “just in time” rather than “just in case” has demonstrated increased potential for immediate relevance, uptake and sustainability.