Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Controlled studies with samples formed randomly, quasi randomly, or using selected, concurrent or historical control groups. The designs of individual studies were not stated, but the methodological scoring system distinguished between studies which formed samples by (a) random, (b) quasi random or (c) selected, concurrent or historical means.
Specific interventions included in the review
Computing systems designed for use by a doctor, either in routine clinical practice or for a specific research project (specific systems were not described, but the authors identified the following types of help which may be provided by computers: access to scientific publications; provision of guidelines and protocols; prompting for missing information; and structured knowledge-based systems).
Participants included in the review
Doctors or nurses in a primary care setting, and their patients (patient groups presumably varied greatly, as some computer systems were specifically intended to support the management of patients with diabetes, others were intended to encourage delivery of specific preventive services, etc.).
Outcomes assessed in the review
Consultation length; clinician performance of a variety of tasks (e.g. drug prescribing, delivery of preventive services, management of particular conditions); and patient outcomes (blood pressure and patient satisfaction).
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors do not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many of the authors performed the selection.