The TIDieR Checklist Will Benefit the Physical Therapy Profession : Pediatric Physical Therapy

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The TIDieR Checklist Will Benefit the Physical Therapy Profession

Yamato, Tie; Maher, Chris; Saragiotto, Bruno; Moseley, Anne; Hoffmann, Tammy; Elkins, Mark; Fetters, Linda

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Pediatric Physical Therapy 28(4):p 366-367, Winter 2016. | DOI: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000329
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The Editorial was originally published in Journal of Physiotherapy, 2016, however, this article contains a modified author list and amendments to the description about Pediatric Physical Therapy's incorporation of the TIDieR checklist into its manuscript processing. It is republished with the kind permission of the Australian Physiotherapy Association. For citation purposes, please use the original publication details: Yamato T, Maher C, Saragiotto B, et al. The TIDieR checklist will benefit the physiotherapy profession. J. Physiother. 2016;62:57-58. DOI of original article:

Evidence-based practice involves physical therapists incorporating high-quality clinical research on treatment efficacy into their clinical decision-making.1 However, if clinical interventions are not adequately reported in the literature, physical therapists face an important barrier to using effective interventions for their patients. Previous studies have reported that incomplete description of interventions is a problem in reports of randomized controlled trials in many health areas.2–4 One of these studies4 examined 133 trials of non-pharmacological interventions. The experimental intervention was inadequately described in over 60% of the trials and descriptions of the control interventions were even worse.

A recent study5 evaluated the completeness of descriptions of the physical therapy interventions in a sample of 200 randomized controlled trials published in 2013. Overall, the interventions were poorly described. For the intervention groups, about one-quarter of the trials did not fulfill at least half of the criteria. Reporting for the control groups was even worse, with around three-quarters of trials not fulfilling at least half of the criteria. In other words, for the majority of the physical therapy trials, clinicians and researchers would be unable to replicate the interventions that were tested.

Describing a treatment may seem like a simple task, but physical therapy interventions can be very complex. Some interventions are multi-modal, involving the use of manual techniques, consumable materials, equipment, education, training and feedback. Some interventions are tailored to each patient's specific health state, including the patient's immediate response to the application of the treatment. When the intervention involves a course of treatments, the intensity or dose may be progressed over time. The descriptions of physical therapy interventions in trial reports often do not capture all these components of the interventions or detail their complexity.

If researchers fail to comprehensively report all aspects of the interventions, the trial results cannot be incorporated into clinical practice or the intervention could be implemented incorrectly. Incorrect implementation may make the treatment effective, wasting the clinician's and patient's time and healthcare resources. Inadequate reporting of interventions also poses a barrier to incorporating a trial's results into synthesis research such as systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines, as well as the usability of these resources. This means that the resources that were invested in undertaking the trial have been wasted. Such resources are extensive, including direct trial costs (e.g., payment of researchers, consumables), use of infrastructure (e.g., clinic space, equipment), human resources (e.g., ethics committee review, granting body review) and the goodwill of patients who agree to participate. Currently, there is a growing realization that we need strategies to reduce waste in clinical research.6 When the list of resources involved in a single study is considered, improving the reproducibility of interventions through better reporting could markedly reduce waste in research.7

The TIDieR checklist and guide were developed to improve the reporting of interventions in any evaluative study, including randomized trials.8 The checklist contains 12 items and was developed as an extension to the CONSORT 20109 and SPIRIT 201310 statements to provide further guidance for authors on the key information to include in trial reports. TIDieR items include: name of the intervention; intervention rationale for essential elements; intervention materials and details about how to access them; description of the intervention procedures; details of intervention providers; mode of delivery of intervention; location of intervention delivery and key infrastructure; details about the number, duration, intensity and dose of intervention sessions; details of any intervention tailoring; any intervention modifications throughout the study; and details of intervention fidelity assessment, monitoring and level achieved. The TIDieR checklist will help improve the quality of intervention reporting more if it is used not only by study authors, but also journal editors, peer reviewers, ethics committees, and funding agencies. A copy of the checklist is available at:

In summary, incomplete reporting of interventions in physical therapy studies is an important problem and we endorse the use of the TIDieR checklist as a potential solution. The responsibility for improving intervention reporting extends beyond the authors of individual trials to journal editors and others who can mandate the use of the TIDieR checklist to combat this problem. Mandating the use of the TIDier checklist would guide authors to describe their interventions better and, consequently, help clinicians to use the interventions and researchers to synthesize and replicate the evidence.

At Pediatric Physical Therapy, the TIDieR statement has already been incorporated into editorial policy. Submitting authors are required to complete the checklist at the time of submission of a manuscript that describes any study that involves the delivery of an intervention. Authors can download a copy of the TIDieR checklist here: Reviewers are required to confirm that the items on the checklist are adequately reported. The journal's editorial team will also check that the items on the TIDieR checklist are adequately reported. Submitting authors with questions about the checklist are invited to contact the journal's editorial team at [email protected].

Tie Yamato
Chris Maher
Bruno Saragiotto
Anne Moseley
Musculoskeletal Division
The George Institute for Global Health
Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney

Tammy Hoffmann
Centre for Research in Evidence Based Practice
Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine
Bond University
Queensland, Australia

Mark Elkins
International Society of Physiotherapy Journal Editors

Linda Fetters
Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California


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5. Yamato TP, Maher CG, Saragiotto BT, Hoffmann TC, Moseley AM. How completely are physical therapy interventions described in reports of randomized trials? Physiotherapy. 2016;102:121–6.
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10. Chan AW, Tetzlaff JM, Altman DG, et al. SPIRIT 2013 statement: defining standard protocol items for clinical trials. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158:200–7.
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