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Table 1 Summary of core dimensions and assessment criteria for the iCAT_SR

From: Assessing the complexity of interventions within systematic reviews: development, content and use of a new tool (iCAT_SR)

Core dimension Assessment levels and criteria for each dimension
1. Active components included in the intervention, in relation to the comparison More than one component and delivered as a bundle The intervention includes more than one component and some or all of these components need to be delivered as a bundle.
More than one component The intervention includes more than one component. These components may be integrated into a package.
One component The intervention includes one component only.
Varies a Varies across interventions to be considered for/included in the review.
2. Behaviour or actions of intervention recipients or participants to which the intervention is directed Multi-target Intervention directed at three or more behaviours or actions.
Dual target Intervention directed at two behaviours or actions.
Single target Intervention directed at one behaviour or action only.
Varies a Varies across interventions to be considered for/included in the review.
3. Organisational levels and categories targeted by the intervention Multi-level Intervention directed at two or more levels.
Multi-category Intervention directed at two or more categories of individuals within the individual level (e.g. primary care professionals and primary care patients).
Single category Intervention directed only at single category of individuals within the individual level (e.g. professionals or patients or policy makers).
4. The degree of tailoring intended or flexibility permitted across sites or individuals in applying or implementing the intervention Highly tailored/flexible High degree of variation in implementation from site to site permitted and/or intervention designed to tailor to individuals or specific implementation settings.
Moderately tailored/flexible Some variation in implementation from site to site permitted (i.e. some components of the intervention are tailored/flexible while others are not).
Inflexible Intervention implementation highly standardised with minimal variation from site to site.
Varies a Varies across interventions to be considered for/included in the review
5. The level of skill required by those delivering the intervention in order to meet the intervention objectives High level skills Extensive specialised skills required, i.e. new skills in addition to expected existing skills AND/OR the extension of existing skills to a highly specialised area AND/OR skills requiring extensive additional training.
Intermediate level skills Some specialised skills required, i.e. a small extension to the expected existing skills of professionals, decision makers or consumers.
Basic skills No specialised skills required.
Varies a Varies across interventions to be considered for/included in the review.
6. The level of skill required for the targeted behaviour when entering the included studies by those receiving the intervention, in order to meet the intervention objectives High level skills Extensive specialised skills required.
Intermediate level skills Some specialised skills required.
Basic skills No specialised skills required.
Varies a Varies across interventions to be considered for/included in the review.
  1. aIf this category is selected, review authors should consider whether the interventions included in the review are as similar as originally thought and whether this has implications for the review’s inclusion criteria
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