HEDS report from World Health Organisation Expert Seminar on Complex Interventions

How can the World Health Organisation (WHO) improve its guidelines processes, particularly when making recommendations that relate to complex interventions? This was the challenge faced by an expert panel convened recently in Munich in January by WHO officials Dr Susan Norris and Dr Annie Portela. Representing ScHARR, and more specifically the Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group, Dr Andrew Booth is assigned lead on a working paper to examine how to introduce qualitative evidence into guidelines for complex interventions. Andrew’s involvement follows production of last year’s guidance for the European Union funded INTEGRATE-HTA project on choosing qualitative evidence synthesis methods for assessing complex interventions (1).

Hosted in the appropriately theological setting of the Kardinal-Döpfner-Haus Educational Center, with its history of contemplating complex interventions from over many millennia, Andrew was joined by other systematic review methodologists such as Professor Mark Petticrew, Professor Jane Noyes and Professor Jeremy Grimshaw. The programme was entitled “Strengthening the Process and Methods for Retrieval, Synthesis and Assessment of Evidence on Complex, Multidisciplinary Interventions” and is scheduled to yield a published series of peer-reviewed journal articles to be submitted in late Summer 2017.

The Munich venue also offered an opportunity for Andrew Booth and the local organiser, Dr Eva Rehfuess, to meet up with Lisa Pfadenhauer, the PhD student they jointly supervise, on the occasion of acceptance of her first article in a major peer-reviewed journal, Implementation Science (2).

  1.  Booth, A., Noyes, J., Flemming, K., et al, 2016. Guidance on choosing qualitative evidence synthesis methods for use in health technology assessments of complex interventions. In Integrate-HTA.
  2. Pfadenhauer LM, Gerhardus A, Mozygemba K, Lysdahl KB, Booth A, et al (2017) Making sense of complexity in context and implementation: the Context and Implementation of Complex Interventions (CICI) framework. Implementation Science, 12.

WHO seminar on complex interventions expert panel