Background: Hospital partnerships, mergers and cooperatives are arrangements frequently seen as a means of improving health service delivery. Many of the assumptions used in planning hospital cooperatives are not stated clearly and are often based on limited or poor scientific evidence.Methods: This is a protocol for a systematic review, following the Cochrane EPOC methodology. The review aims to document, catalogue and synthesize the existing literature on the reported methods for the evaluation of hospital cooperation activities as well as methods of hospital cooperation. We will search the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness, the Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and bibliographic databases including PubMed (via NLM), Web of Science, NHS EED, Business Source Premier (via EBSCO) and Global Health for publications that report on methods for evaluating hospital cooperatives, strategic partnerships, mergers, alliances, networks and related activities and methods used for such partnerships. The method proposed by the Cochrane EPOC group regarding randomized study designs, controlled clinical trials, controlled before and after studies, and interrupted time series will be followed. In addition, we will also include cohort, case-control studies, and relevant non-comparative publications such as case reports. We will categorize and analyze the review findings according to the study design employed, the study quality (low versus high quality studies) and the method reported in the primary studies. We will present the results of studies in tabular form.Discussion: Overall, the systematic review aims to identify, assess and synthesize the evidence to underpin hospital cooperation activities as defined in this protocol. As a result, the review will provide an evidence base for partnerships, alliances or other fields of cooperation in a hospital setting. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42011001579.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)