Background: Quality improvement (QI) approaches are widely used across health care, but how well they are reported in the academic literature is not clear. A systematic review was conducted to assess the completeness of reporting of QI interventions and techniques in the field of perioperative care.
Methods: Searches were conducted using Medline, Scopus, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organization of Care database, and PubMed. Two independent reviewers used the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) check list, which identifies 12 features of interventions that studies should describe (for example, How: the interventions were delivered [e. g., face to face, internet]), When and how much: duration, dose, intensity), to assign scores for each included article. Articles were also scored against a small number of additional criteria relevant to QI.
Results: The search identified 16,103 abstracts from databases and 19 from other sources. Following review, full-text was obtained for 223 articles, 100 of which met the criteria for inclusion. Completeness of reporting of QI in the perioperative care literature was variable. Only one article was judged fully complete against the 11 TIDieR items used. The mean TIDieR score across the 100 included articles was 6.31 (of a maximum 11). More than a third (35%) of the articles scored 5 or lower. Particularly problematic was reporting of fidelity (absent in 74% of articles) and whether any modifications were made to the intervention (absent in 73% of articles).
Conclusions: The standard of reporting of quality interventions and QI techniques in surgery is often suboptimal, making it difficult to determine whether an intervention can be replicated and used to deliver a positive effect in another setting. This suggests a need to explore how reporting practices could be improved.