Background: Transparency International defines conflict of interest (COI) as a "situation where an individual or the entity for which they work, whether a government, business, media outlet or civil society organization, is confronted with choosing between the duties and demands of their position and their own private interests".
Objectives: Since conflicts of interest have the potential to bias decisions made by health policymakers and stakeholders, the objective of this study is to assess the frequency and types of COI disclosed by authors of systematic reviews on health policy and systems.
Methods: We have initiated a methodological survey using standard systematic review methodology. We searched the Health Systems Evidence (HSE) database, which is a comprehensive and continuously updated database of systematic reviews for health systems and policy topics. We defined a COI disclosure as the reporting of whether a COI exists or not (i.e. includes a statement of the absence of COI). For the classification of COI, we have adapted a framework previously used in studies assessing COIs reported by authors of clinical systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials. We will refine the framework based on the findings of this study.
Results: We are currently in the screening phase of the study. At the Colloquium, we will present the results of descriptive and regression analyses.
Conclusions: The findings of this study will contribute to improving the reporting of conflicts of interest in systematic reviews of health policy and systems, which are increasingly providing the basis for decision-making by health policymakers and stakeholders.