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Designing and evaluating complex interventions to improve health care\ud

By Neil C. Campbell, Elizabeth Murray, Janet Darbyshire, Jon Emery, Andrew Farmer, Frances Griffiths, Bruce Guthrie, Helen Lester, Phil Wilson and A.-L. Kinmonth

Abstract

Complex interventions are “built up from a number of components, which may act both independently and interdependently.”1 2 Many health service activities should be considered as complex. Evaluating complex interventions can pose a considerable challenge and requires a substantial investment of time. Unless the trials illuminate processes and mechanisms they often fail to provide useful information. If the result is negative, we are left wondering whether the intervention is inherently ineffective (either because the intervention was inadequately developed or because all similar interventions are ineffective), whether it was inadequately applied or applied in an inappropriate context, or whether the trial used an inappropriate design, comparison groups or outcomes. If there is a positive effect, it can be hard to judge how the results of the trial might be applied to a different context (box 1)

Topics: R1
Publisher: BMJ Group
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:3018

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