Background:In recent years there has been a rapid growth in the amount of implementation research being carried out and published. Locating studies of implementation research in healthcare is challenging: there is large variation in terminology amongst authors and implementation experts, and there is often disagreement about what constitutes an implementation study. These factors lead to confusion and uncertainty about what terms should be included in a database search strategy. Previous work measured the sensitivity of specific terms for implementation across three reviews of implementation (in care homes, in dementia, and a review of reviews in healthcare). The evidence suggested that terms for methods of implementing change (e.g. experts, audit and feedback, educational workshops) retrieved more relevant records than terms describing the process (e.g. ‘bench to bedside’, ‘knowledge mobilisation’ and ‘knowledge translation’).
Objectives:The aim of this study was to test the terms found to have the best sensitivity in previous work against systematic review abstracts retrieved from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health (CADTH) Rx for Change database
Methods:Systematic reviews held on the CADTH Rx for Change database were selected by quality rating and checked for inclusion on MEDLINE. Search terms and phrases for implementation identified were searched in the title and abstract fields of the systematic reviews on MEDLINE. Sensitivity of the terms was examined and compared with previous results.
Results:There were 932 systematic reviews included on the CADTH Rx for Change database categorised by professional, organisational, consumer, financial and regulatory interventions. There were 189 systematic reviews with an AMSTAR rating of 9-11, which formed the test set. Analysis of the title and abstracts indicated that some search terms and medical subject headings were more effective than others in retrieving systematic reviews in implementation.
Conclusions:The findings will aid researchers and information specialists designing searches to retrieve implementation studies.