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Table 1 Comparison of review methodologies

From: A systematic tale of two differing reviews: evaluating the evidence on public and private sector quality of primary care in low and middle income countries

Methodological criteria Berendes et al. Basu et al.
Search strategy Keyword search resulting in 8145 abstracts/studies from the following sources:
• Medline (Pubmed)
• Embase
• LILACS
• Web of Science, Social Sciences Citation Index and Science Citation Index
• Pychinfo
• Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL)
• Cochrane Methods studies
• Cochrane economic evaluations
• Cochrane reviews
• Other reviews (in Cochrane library)
• CSA – Assia, Sociological Abstracts
• Econlit
Keyword search resulting in 1178 abstracts/studies from the following sources:
• Medline (Pubmed)
• Embase
• LILACS
• Web of Knowledge
• African Index Medicus
• Eastern Mediterranean Literature – WHO
• IndMED
• Index Medicus for South-East Asia Region
• WHO library database
• World Bank documents and reports
• UN Children’s Fund
• UNDP
• Gates Foundation
• GFATM
• Oxfam International
• Kaiser Family Foundation
Inclusion criteria • Field based studies in LMICs
• Directly compare private and public ambulatory care in the same country
• In English, German, or French
• Scientifically sound data collection methodology for quantitative and qualitative studies
• Study included population data from at least 1 LMIC
• Study relevant to review objective
• In English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, or Russian
• Scientifically sound data collection methodology for quantitative and qualitative studies
Exclusion criteria • Unclear or poor sampling criteria
• Inadequate sample size/response rate
• Risk of bias (through purposive sampling or other study design problems)
• Significant errors or omissions in data presentation
• Focus on informal providers
• Unclear or poor sampling criteria
• Inadequate sample size
• Risk of bias via poor design conduct or analysis
• Significant errors or omissions in data presentation
Geographic range LMICs Worldwide LMICs Worldwide
Aggregation method Adapted Donabedin (21) classification of quality of care into seven sub-categories of quality of care. Assigned 80 included studies a numeric score for public and private sector quality of care in each of the sub categories. Aggregated scores into medians and interquartile ranges for public and private providers in each category. Compared median scores between public and private providers. Classified 102 included studies into six categories from WHO framework for health systems assessment. (22) Authors synthesized overall findings in each category.
Date searches conducted The search was performed in December 2010 and included articles from January 1980 through August 2011 The search was performed in December 2010 and included articles from 1969 – October 2010
AMSTAR Methodology Checklist (18)
 Total AMSTAR Methodology Checklist Score 7/11 7/11
Was there duplicate study selection and data extraction? Yes Yes
Was a comprehensive literature search performed? Yes Yes
Was the status of publication (i.e. grey literature) used as an inclusion criterion? No No
Was a list of studies (included and excluded) provided? Yes No
Were the characteristics of the included studies provided? Yes Yes
Was the scientific quality of the included studies assessed and documented? Yes Yes
Was the scientific quality of the included studies used appropriately in formulating conclusions? Yes Yes
Were the methods used to combine the findings of studies appropriate? No No
Was the likelihood of publication bias assessed? No No
Was the conflict of interest included? No Yes
  1. The bold text signifies important contrasting characteristics of the two systematic reviews