The research activities of Ontario's large community acute care hospitals: a scoping review

BMC Health Serv Res. 2017 Aug 16;17(1):566. doi: 10.1186/s12913-017-2517-4.


Background: Ontario's large community hospitals (LCHs) provide care to 65% of the province's hospitalized patients, yet we know very little about their research activities. By searching for research publications from 2013 to 2015, we will describe the extent, type and collaborative nature of Ontario's LCHs' research activities.

Methods: We conducted a scoping review by searching PubMed, Embase and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature databases from January 1, 2013 until December 31, 2015 for all publication types whose author(s) was affiliated with any of the 44 LCHs. Articles were screened and abstracted by three reviewers, independently. The data were charted and results described using summary statistics, scatter plots, and bar charts.

Results: We included 798 publications from 39 LCHs and 454 authors. The median number of publications was 7 (Interquartile range (IQR) 23). Observational study design was most commonly reported in over 50% of publications. Program evaluation was the focus in 40% of publications. Primary LCH authorship was observed for 535 publications. Over 25% and 65% of the publications were attributable to 24 authors and 9 LCHs, respectively. There was minimal collaboration both within (21.2%) and between (7.8%) LCHs. LCH size and geographic proximity to academic hospitals had minimal impact on research activity.

Conclusions: Ontario's LCHs publish infrequently, collaborate infrequently, and their role in translational research activity is not well defined. A future survey questionnaire to LCH researchers identified through this review is planned to both validate and elicit their interpretations of our study findings and opinions about LCH involvement in research.

Keywords: Acute care hospitals; Knowledge translation; Research activities.

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics*
  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Community*
  • Ontario
  • Publications / statistics & numerical data*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical