STROBE criteria were published in 2007. Though STROBE criteria learn more might be considered ‘usual elements’ included in a paper, many observational studies
we evaluated were published prior to the release of STROBE, and did not benefit from having this checklist in advance of their manuscript preparation. The GRADE criteria for systematic reviews were not applied because the studies appeared to be heterogeneous. The a priori goal of this review was to assess the thoroughness of reporting, rather than the quality of the evidence, though this would be the next step to take. A more in-depth evaluation would evaluate the evidence to justify inclusion of pharmacists in HIV healthcare teams; however, this might turn out to be more favourable if the rigor of the study designs and their reporting improved. We did not contact the study authors as part of our methodology, so we cannot determine the reasons for find more missing information in the manuscripts. Our search strategy identified and evaluated papers that focused on HIV pharmacist interventions; other broader searches that included conference abstracts, foreign language reports or pharmacists peripherally involved in the care of HIV positive patients may have increased
the adequacy of reporting found in the body of literature. It is possible that critical information was not inadvertently omitted in the manuscripts we evaluated. Authors might have been unfamiliar with reporting criteria, or information could be missing due to gaps in study design or analysis. Many of the earlier published manuscripts were descriptive observational studies with no comparator group. Those types of studies are not as rigorous in design and often do not collect information recommended for adequate reporting. Despite this,
those studies still played the important role of broadening awareness of the important services HIV pharmacists provide when caring for patients: ameliorating drug–drug interactions, counselling patients on poor adherence, and detecting and preventing medication errors.[2, 3] If critical information had been more strategically reported in those manuscripts, they may have been perceived by readers as more clear, rigorous old and generalizable. Our study focused on the body of literature on HIV pharmacist interventions, yet it is likely that literature searches examining other pharmacist specialists’ interventions might also yield low levels of reporting critical information. Pharmacy interventions need to be represented in well-designed research studies that adequately report critical information. For example, researchers should strive to increase the number of well-reported randomized studies that detail the efficacy of HIV pharmacist interventions in the literature. Randomized trials can be challenging to implement and conduct; however these studies provide the clearest evidence to support pharmacist clinical services.