A new tool to assess the trustworthiness of evidence-based point-of-care information for health care professionals

Article type
Lenaerts G1, Bekkering G2, Goossens M1, Deconinck L1, Delvaux N3, Cordyn S4, Adriaenssens J5, Vankrunkelsven P2
1Belgian Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBAM)
2Belgian Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBAM); Cochrane Belgium
3Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven
4Federation of the White and Yellow Cross of Flanders
5Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre
Background: User-friendly information at the point-of-care (POC) should be well structured, rapidly accessible and comprehensive. The reliability of information and the associated methodological process must be clear. There is no standard tool to evaluate the trustworthiness of such POC information.

Objectives: To develop and validate a new tool to assess the trustworthiness of evidence-based POC information.

Methods: We performed a systematic review to analyze the available tools. None of the tools was assessed for both reliability and validity. Therefore, we decided to design a new tool based on the results of the systematic review. We listed the different criteria important for assessment of trustworthiness of POC information. A working group of health care professionals and methodologists defined the criteria in several re-iterations. Subsequently, two researchers piloted the usability of the criteria on existing information sources. Then, all criteria were subject to content validation with a Delphi study. We invited an international panel of 10 experts to rate their agreement with the relevance and wording of the different criteria and to give feedback in case of non-agreement. The process was in writing and anonymous. Consensus was reached when 70% of the experts agreed. When no consensus was reached, we reformulated the criteria based on the experts’ comments for a next round of the Delphi study. We repeated this process until consensus was reached for each criterion. Our next step is to test the inter-rater reliability of the final tool.

Results: The new tool was designed with 9 certification criteria. After the first round of the Delphi study, the 9 certification criteria were assessed as relevant by the experts, but refinement of the wording was needed. Some criteria had to be split up, resulting in a final version with 11 certification criteria. The certification criteria relate to authorship, literature search, use of pre-appraised evidence, critical appraisal of evidence, expert opinions, peer review, timeliness and updating, conflict of interests, and commercial support.

Conclusions: We developed and validated a new tool to assess the trustworthiness of evidence-based POC information for health care professionals. Next steps are to test its reliability. The systematic use of this tool will enhance the quality of POC information and will support health care professionals to practice evidence-based medicine.

1: Lenaerts G, Bekkering GE, Goossens M, et al. Tools to Assess the Trustworthiness of Evidence-Based Point-of-Care Information for Health Care Professionals: Systematic Review. J Med Internet Res. 2020;22(1):e15415. Published 2020 Jan 17. doi:10.2196/15415