Background: The Dutch National Health Care Institute (NHCI) assesses evidence on the effectiveness of interventions for the purpose of reimbursement decisions. In this context the NHCI developed the FIT-tool (Feasible Information Trajectory).
Tool: The FIT is a computerised tool that starts with several questions about the population, intervention, control, outcomes, timing and setting (PICOts) under study. FIT translates the answers to these questions into a need for specific research, i.e. a series of feasible research characteristics that, when all are met, would outline the optimal research design. The tool then calculates the so-called FIT-score; the distance between the feasible characteristics as determined by the tool and the actual characteristics of a study in the body of evidence. The FIT-score is expressed as a continuous value between 0 and 1. A high FIT score signifies that a study closely meets the research needs and therefore can be considered to be of high informative value. In contrast, a low FIT-score signifies a research gap.
Discussion: The FIT-tool helps to identify knowledge gaps and gives insights in how these gaps can be ,if at all. This is the very reason for the tool’s coming into existence. However, other possibilities for use can be suggested; those studies with the highest FIT-scores may be selected for assessment whilst the lower scoring ones are excluded. Or even weighing the included studies according to their information values in a meta-analysis may be a line of further investigation.