Methods, applications, interpretations and challenges of interrupted time series (ITS) data: protocol for a scoping review
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OBJECTIVES: Interrupted time series (ITS) design involves collecting data across multiple time points before and after the implementation of an intervention to assess the effect of the intervention on an outcome. ITS designs have become increasingly common in recent times with frequent use in assessing impact of evidence implementation interventions. Several statistical methods are currently available for analysing data from ITS designs; however, there is a lack of guidance on which methods are optimal for different data types and on their implications in interpreting results. Our objective is to conduct a scoping review of existing methods for analysing ITS data, to summarise their characteristics and properties, as well as to examine how the results are reported. We also aim to identify gaps and methodological deficiencies. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will search electronic databases from inception until August 2016 (eg, MEDLINE and JSTOR). Two reviewers will independently screen titles, abstracts and full-text articles and complete the data abstraction. The anticipated outcome will be a summarised description of all the methods that have been used in analysing ITS data in health research, how those methods were applied, their strengths and limitations and the transparency of interpretation/reporting of the results. We will provide summary tables of the characteristics of the included studies. We will also describe the similarities and differences of the various methods. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval is not required for this study since we are just considering the methods used in the analysis and there will not be identifiable patient data. Results will be disseminated through open access peer-reviewed publications.
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