Improving the usefulness of evidence concerning the effectiveness of implementation strategies for knowledge products in primary healthcare: Protocol for a series of systematic reviews


The literature on the implementation of knowledge products is extensive. However, this literature is still difficult to interpret for policymakers and other stakeholders when faced with choosing implementation strategies likely to bring about successful change in their health systems. This work has the particularity to examine the scope of this literature, and to clarify the effectiveness of implementation strategies for different knowledge products. Consequently, we aim to (1) determine the strengths and weaknesses of existing literature overviews; (2) produce a detailed portrait of the literature on implementation strategies for various knowledge products; and (3) assess the effectiveness of implementation strategies for each knowledge product identified and classify them.


We will use a three-phase approach consisting of a critical analysis of existing literature overviews, a systematic review of systematic reviews, and a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. We will follow the Cochrane Methodology for each of the three phases. Our eligibility criteria are defined following a PICOS approach: Population, individuals or stakeholders participating in healthcare delivery, specifically, healthcare providers, caregivers, and end users; Intervention, any type of strategy aiming to implement a knowledge product including, but not limited to, a decision support tool, a clinical practice guideline, a policy brief, or a decision-making tool, a one-pager, or a health intervention; Comparison, any comparator will be considered; Outcomesphases 1 and 2—any outcome related to implementation strategies including, but not limited to, the measures of adherence/fidelity to the use of knowledge products, their acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, feasibility, adaptability, implementation costs, penetration/reach and sustainability; phase 3—any additional outcome related to patients (psychosocial, health behavioral, and clinical outcomes) or healthcare professionals (behavioral and performance outcomes); Setting, primary healthcare has to be covered. We will search MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE, Web of Science, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library from their inception onwards. For each phase, two reviewers will independently perform the selection of studies, data extraction, and assess their methodological quality. We will analyze extracted data, and perform narrative syntheses, and meta-analyses when possible.


Our results could inform not only the overviews’ methodology but also the development of an online platform for the implementation strategies of knowledge products. This platform could be useful for stakeholders in implementation science.