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Systematic review of economic analyses in patient safety: a protocol designed to measure development in the scope and quality of evidence

18 Aug 2017


Recent avoidable failures in patient care highlight the ongoing need for evidence to support improvements in patient safety. According to the most recent reviews, there is a dearth of economic evidence related to patient safety. These reviews characterise an evidence gap in terms of the scope and quality of evidence available to support resource allocation decisions. This protocol is designed to update and improve on the reviews previously conducted to determine the extent of methodological progress in economic analyses in patient safety.

Methods and analysis

A broad search strategy with two core themes for original research (excluding opinion pieces and systematic reviews) in ‘patient safety’ and ‘economic analyses’ has been developed. Medline, Econlit and National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database bibliographic databases will be searched from January 2007 using a combination of medical subject headings terms and research-derived search terms (see table 1). The method is informed by previous reviews on this topic, published in 2012. Screening, risk of bias assessment (using the Cochrane collaboration tool) and economic evaluation quality assessment (using the Drummond checklist) will be conducted by two independent reviewers, with arbitration by a third reviewer as needed. Studies with a low risk of bias will be assessed using the Drummond checklist. High-quality economic evaluations are those that score >20/35. A qualitative synthesis of evidence will be performed using a data collection tool to capture the study design(s) employed, population(s), setting(s), disease area(s), intervention(s) and outcome(s) studied. Methodological quality scores will be compared with previous reviews where possible. Effect size(s) and estimate uncertainty will be captured and used in a quantitative synthesis of high-quality evidence, where possible.

Ethics and dissemination

Formal ethical approval is not required as primary data will not be collected. The results will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication, presentations and social media.

Trial registration number


Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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