Tools for assessing the scalability of innovations in health: a systematic review Academic Article uri icon

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  • Abstract Background The last decade has seen growing interest in scaling up of innovations to strengthen healthcare systems. However, the lack of appropriate methods for determining their potential for scale-up is an unfortunate global handicap. Thus, we aimed to review tools proposed for assessing the scalability of innovations in health. Methods We conducted a systematic review following the COSMIN methodology. We included any empirical research which aimed to investigate the creation, validation or interpretability of a scalability assessment tool in health. We searched Embase, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library and ERIC from their inception to 20 March 2019. We also searched relevant websites, screened the reference lists of relevant reports and consulted experts in the field. Two reviewers independently selected and extracted eligible reports and assessed the methodological quality of tools. We summarized data using a narrative approach involving thematic syntheses and descriptive statistics. Results We identified 31 reports describing 21 tools. Types of tools included criteria (47.6%), scales (33.3%) and checklists (19.0%). Most tools were published from 2010 onwards (90.5%), in open-access sources (85.7%) and funded by governmental or nongovernmental organizations (76.2%). All tools were in English; four were translated into French or Spanish (19.0%). Tool creation involved single (23.8%) or multiple (19.0%) types of stakeholders, or stakeholder involvement was not reported (57.1%). No studies reported involving patients or the public, or reported the sex of tool creators. Tools were created for use in high-income countries (28.6%), low- or middle-income countries (19.0%), or both (9.5%), or for transferring innovations from low- or middle-income countries to high-income countries (4.8%). Healthcare levels included public or population health (47.6%), primary healthcare (33.3%) and home care (4.8%). Most tools provided limited information on content validity (85.7%), and none reported on other measurement properties. The methodological quality of tools was deemed inadequate (61.9%) or doubtful (38.1%). Conclusions We inventoried tools for assessing the scalability of innovations in health. Existing tools are as yet of limited utility for assessing scalability in health. More work needs to be done to establish key psychometric properties of these tools. Trial registration We registered this review with PROSPERO (identifier: CRD42019107095)


  • Ben Charif, Ali
  • Zomahoun, Hervé Tchala Vignon
  • Gogovor, Amédé
  • Abdoulaye Samri, Mamane
  • Massougbodji, José
  • Wolfenden, Luke
  • Ploeg, Jenny
  • Zwarenstein, Merrick
  • Milat, Andrew J
  • Rheault, Nathalie
  • Ousseine, Youssoufa M
  • Salerno, Jennifer
  • Markle-Reid, Maureen Frances
  • Légaré, France

publication date

  • December 2022