Pharm World Sci  2002 Oct;24(5):177-81 

Measuring the impact of medicines information services on patient care:
methodological considerations.

Spinewine A, Dean B.

Universite Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.

INTRODUCTION: Medicines information services (MISs) aim to promote the safe,
effective and economic use of medicines. Results from published studies suggest
that they provide effective information, which in many cases results in improved
patient outcome. However, there are several methodological issues that are
important in the interpretation of such studies. AIM: To address methodological
issues in the evaluation of MISs. OBJECTIVES: To carry out a critical appraisal
of papers assessing the impact on patient outcome of passive information given
to health care professionals, to identify the key methodological issues and to
make recommendations for future research in Europe. METHODS: Literature search
to identify relevant papers meeting the inclusion criteria, critical evaluation
of the methods used. RESULTS: Most studies have been conducted in the United
States. Various methodological considerations were identified: study design,
sampling, data collection, choice of outcome measures, and validity. The results
of each study are interpreted in view of the methods used. In addition, the
implications of the methods selected on the validity, reliability and
generalisability of the results are discussed. Finally, suggestions for future
studies are provided, in order to maximise validity and reliability.

PMID: 12426961 [PubMed - in process]