Development of a critical appraisal tool for models predicting the impact of 'test, trace, and protect' programmes on COVID-19 transmission

Objectives: To develop a critical appraisal tool for non-computational-specialist public health professionals to assess the quality and relevance of modelling studies about Test and Trace (and Protect e TTP) programmes' impact on COVID-19 transmission. Study design: Decision-making tool development. Methods: Using Tugwell et al.'s 1985 Health Care Effectiveness equation as a conceptual framework, combined with a purposive search of the relevant early modeling literature, we developed six critical appraisal questions for the rapid assessment of modeling studies related to the evaluation of TTP programmes' effectiveness. Results: By applying the critical appraisal tool to selected recent COVID-19 modeling studies, we demonstrate how models can be evaluated using the six questions to evaluate internal and external validity and relevance. Conclusions: These six critical appraisal questions are able to discriminate between modeling studies of higher and lower quality and relevance to evaluating TTP programmes' impact. However, these questions require independent validation in a larger and systematic sample of relevant modeling studies which have appeared in later stages of the pandemic
Refereed journal
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