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Identifying optimal frameworks to implement or evaluate digital health interventions: a scoping review protocol.

  • Soobiah, Charlene1
  • Cooper, Madeline1
  • Kishimoto, Vanessa1
  • Bhatia, R Sacha1
  • Scott, Ted2, 3
  • Maloney, Shelagh4
  • Larsen, Darren1, 5
  • Wijeysundera, Harindra C6
  • Zelmer, Jennifer7
  • Gray, Carolyn Steele8, 9
  • Desveaux, Laura10, 9
  • 1 Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care, Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 2 Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 3 School of Nursing, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 4 Canada Health Infoway, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 5 OntarioMD, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 6 Schulich Heart Center, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 7 Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 8 Bridgepoint Collaboratory for Research and Innovation, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 9 Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 10 Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care, Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada [email protected] , (Canada)
Published Article
BMJ Open
Publication Date
Aug 13, 2020
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037643
PMID: 32792444


Digital health interventions (DHIs) are defined as health services delivered electronically through formal or informal care. DHIs can range from electronic medical records used by providers to mobile health apps used by consumers. DHIs involve complex interactions between user, technology and the healthcare team, posing challenges for implementation and evaluation. Theoretical or interpretive frameworks are crucial in providing researchers guidance and clarity on implementation or evaluation approaches; however, there is a lack of standardisation on which frameworks to use in which contexts. Our goal is to conduct a scoping review to identify frameworks to guide the implementation or evaluation of DHIs. A scoping review will be conducted using methods outlined by the Joanna Briggs Institute reviewers' manual and will conform to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews. Studies will be included if they report on frameworks (ie, theoretical, interpretive, developmental) that are used to guide either implementation or evaluation of DHIs. Electronic databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsychINFO will be searched in addition to grey literature and reference lists of included studies. Citations and full text articles will be screened independently in Covidence after a reliability check among reviewers. We will use qualitative description to summarise findings and focus on how research objectives and type of DHIs are aligned with the frameworks used. We engaged an advisory panel of digital health knowledge users to provide input at strategic stages of the scoping review to enhance the relevance of findings and inform dissemination activities. Specifically, they will provide feedback on the eligibility criteria, data abstraction elements, interpretation of findings and assist in developing key messages for dissemination. This study does not require ethical review. Findings from review will support decision making when selecting appropriate frameworks to guide the implementation or evaluation of DHIs. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

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