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      National Public Health Dashboards: Protocol for a Scoping Review


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          The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of robust public health data systems and the potential utility of data dashboards for ensuring access to critical public health data for diverse groups of stakeholders and decision makers. As dashboards are becoming ubiquitous, it is imperative to consider how they may be best integrated with public health data systems and the decision-making routines of diverse audiences. However, additional progress on the continued development, improvement, and sustainability of these tools requires the integration and synthesis of a largely fragmented scholarship regarding the purpose, design principles and features, successful implementation, and decision-making supports provided by effective public health data dashboards across diverse users and applications.


          This scoping review aims to provide a descriptive and thematic overview of national public health data dashboards including their purpose, intended audiences, health topics, design elements, impact, and underlying mechanisms of use and usefulness of these tools in decision-making processes. It seeks to identify gaps in the current literature on the topic and provide the first-of-its-kind systematic treatment of actionability as a critical design element of public health data dashboards.


          The scoping review follows the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews) guidelines. The review considers English-language, peer-reviewed journal papers, conference proceedings, book chapters, and reports that describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of a public health dashboard published between 2000 and 2023. The search strategy covers scholarly databases (CINAHL, PubMed, Medline, and Web of Science) and gray literature sources and uses snowballing techniques. An iterative process of testing for and improving intercoder reliability was implemented to ensure that coders are properly trained to screen documents according to the inclusion criteria prior to beginning the full review of relevant papers.


          The search process initially identified 2544 documents, including papers located via databases, gray literature searching, and snowballing. Following the removal of duplicate documents (n=1416), nonrelevant items (n=839), and items classified as literature reviews and background information (n=73), 216 documents met the inclusion criteria: US case studies (n=90) and non-US case studies (n=126). Data extraction will focus on key variables, including public health data characteristics; dashboard design elements and functionalities; intended users, usability, logistics, and operation; and indicators of usefulness and impact reported.


          The scoping review will analyze the goals, design, use, usefulness, and impact of public health data dashboards. The review will also inform the continued development and improvement of these tools by analyzing and synthesizing current practices and lessons emerging from the literature on the topic and proposing a theory-grounded and evidence-informed framework for designing, implementing, and evaluating public health data dashboards.

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          PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR): Checklist and Explanation

          Scoping reviews, a type of knowledge synthesis, follow a systematic approach to map evidence on a topic and identify main concepts, theories, sources, and knowledge gaps. Although more scoping reviews are being done, their methodological and reporting quality need improvement. This document presents the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) checklist and explanation. The checklist was developed by a 24-member expert panel and 2 research leads following published guidance from the EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) Network. The final checklist contains 20 essential reporting items and 2 optional items. The authors provide a rationale and an example of good reporting for each item. The intent of the PRISMA-ScR is to help readers (including researchers, publishers, commissioners, policymakers, health care providers, guideline developers, and patients or consumers) develop a greater understanding of relevant terminology, core concepts, and key items to report for scoping reviews.
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            Answering the Call for a Standard Reliability Measure for Coding Data

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              Which academic search systems are suitable for systematic reviews or meta‐analyses? Evaluating retrieval qualities of Google Scholar, PubMed, and 26 other resources

              Rigorous evidence identification is essential for systematic reviews and meta‐analyses (evidence syntheses) because the sample selection of relevant studies determines a review's outcome, validity, and explanatory power. Yet, the search systems allowing access to this evidence provide varying levels of precision, recall, and reproducibility and also demand different levels of effort. To date, it remains unclear which search systems are most appropriate for evidence synthesis and why. Advice on which search engines and bibliographic databases to choose for systematic searches is limited and lacking systematic, empirical performance assessments. This study investigates and compares the systematic search qualities of 28 widely used academic search systems, including Google Scholar, PubMed, and Web of Science. A novel, query‐based method tests how well users are able to interact and retrieve records with each system. The study is the first to show the extent to which search systems can effectively and efficiently perform (Boolean) searches with regards to precision, recall, and reproducibility. We found substantial differences in the performance of search systems, meaning that their usability in systematic searches varies. Indeed, only half of the search systems analyzed and only a few Open Access databases can be recommended for evidence syntheses without adding substantial caveats. Particularly, our findings demonstrate why Google Scholar is inappropriate as principal search system. We call for database owners to recognize the requirements of evidence synthesis and for academic journals to reassess quality requirements for systematic reviews. Our findings aim to support researchers in conducting better searches for better evidence synthesis.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                16 May 2024
                : 13
                : e52843
                [1 ] School of Communication & Information Rutgers University New Brunswick, NJ United States
                [2 ] School of Information Florida State University Tallahassee, FL United States
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Itzhak Yanovitzky itzhak@ 123456rutgers.edu
                Author information
                ©Itzhak Yanovitzky, Gretchen Stahlman, Justine Quow, Matthew Ackerman, Yehuda Perry, Miriam Kim. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (https://www.researchprotocols.org), 16.05.2024.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 18 September 2023
                : 7 February 2024
                : 13 February 2024
                : 19 February 2024

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