Background: The PICO framework (participants, intervention, comparator, outcomes) is well established for aiding the design and reporting of systematic reviews in health care. However, reviews of implementation in health care are difficult to fit into the PICO framework. The population, interventions and outcomes are less clearly defined, with settings, staff, implementation strategies and process outcomes being the predominant elements of interest. In our experience, developing search strategies to identify implementation research using PICO is challenging.
Objectives: To investigate whether an alternative framework, SCOOPS (setting, condition/circumstance, output, outcome, process, strategy) , is more appropriate than PICO to describe studies of implementation research in healthcare. If successful, SCOOPS could be used to improve the design of studies, enable clearer reporting and subsequently facilitate easier identification of implementation research.
Methods: We randomly selected implementation studies from reviews of implementation research carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter, and from the Rx for Change database hosted by the Candian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). We extracted elements from PICO (population, intervention, comparison and outcomes) and SCOOPS (setting, condition/circumstance, output, outcome, process and strategy) from the studies. The two frameworks were compared by identifying and tabulating the elements of PICO and SCOOPS from within the studies.
Results: The results indicate the usefulness of SCOOPS as a framework for designing, locating and reporting studies of implementation in health care. We will also discuss the viability of SCOOPS as an alternative to PICO for this purpose.
Conclusions: Using SCOOPS to describe studies of implementation in health care could improve reporting and aid study design. More consistent reporting will lead to easier retrieval of studies for systematic reviews. The new framework could enable more efficient and higher quality systematic reviews of implementation research
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: None.