Collaborative writing applications in healthcare: effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes

Authors: Archambault PM, van de Belt TH, Kuziemsky C, Plaisance A, Dupuis A, McGinn CA, Francois R, Gagnon MP, Turgeon AF, Horsley T, Witteman W, Poitras J, Lapointe J, Brand K, Lachaine J, Légaré F.

Source: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD011388. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011388.pub2.

Collaborative writing applications (CWAs), such as wikis and Google Documents, hold the potential to improve the use of evidence in both public health and healthcare. Although a growing body of literature indicates that CWAs could have positive effects on healthcare, such as improved collaboration, behavioural change, learning, knowledge management, and adaptation of knowledge to local context, this has never been assessed systematically. Moreover, several questions regarding safety, reliability, and legal aspects exist.

Objectives

The objectives of this review were to (1) assess the effects of the use of CWAs on process (including the behaviour of healthcare professionals) and patient outcomes, (2) critically appraise and summarise current evidence on the use of resources, costs, and cost-effectiveness associated with CWAs to improve professional practices and patient outcomes, and (3) explore the effects of different CWA features (e.g. open versus closed) and different implementation factors (e.g. the presence of a moderator) on process and patient outcomes.

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