A computerized tool for evaluating the effectiveness of preventive interventions.
In identifying appropriate strategies for effective use of preventive services for particular settings or populations, public health practitioners employ a systematic approach to evaluating the literature. Behavioral intervention studies that focus on prevention, however, pose special challenges for these traditional methods. Tools for synthesizing evidence on preventive interventions can improve public health practice. The authors developed a literature abstraction tool and a classification for preventive interventions. They incorporated the tool into a PC-based relational database and user-friendly evidence reporting system, then tested the system by reviewing behavioral interventions for hypertension management. They performed a structured literature search and reviewed 100 studies on behavioral interventions for hypertension management. They abstracted information using the abstraction tool and classified important elements of interventions for comparison across studies. The authors found that many studies in their pilot project did not report sufficient information to allow for complete evaluation, comparison across studies, or replication of the intervention. They propose that studies reporting on preventive interventions should (a) categorize interventions into discrete components; (b) report sufficient participant information; and (c) report characteristics such as intervention leaders, timing, and setting so that public health professionals can compare and select the most appropriate interventions.
Daumit, G; Boulware, LE; Powe, NR; Minkovitz, CS; Frick, KD; Anderson, LA; Janes, GR; Lawrence, RS
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