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J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2014 Fall;34(4):232-42. doi: 10.1002/chp.21257.

The Communication AssessmenT Checklist in Health (CATCH): a tool for assessing the quality of printed educational materials for clinicians.



There is little guidance available on strategies to improve the communication quality of printed educational materials (PEMs) for clinicians. The purposes of this study were to conceptualize PEM communication quality, develop a checklist based on this conceptualization, and validate the checklist with a selection of PEMs.


From a literature review of the strategies influencing communication quality, we generated a conceptual map and developed the Communication AssessmenT Checklist in Health (CATCH) consisting of 55 items nested in 12 concepts. Two raters independently applied CATCH to 45 PEMs evaluated in the studies included in a Cochrane systematic review. From these results, we conducted an item analysis and assessed content validity of CATCH using a hierarchical cluster analysis to explore the extent to which our CATCH operationalization truly represented the communication quality concepts.


Some concepts were better covered in the studied PEMs, whereas others were not covered consistently. We observed 3 contrasting PEM clusters. A first cluster (n = 22) was characterized by longer PEMs and comprised mostly high-impact peer-reviewed scientific articles or clinical practice guidelines. A second cluster (n = 22) consisted of PEMs shorter than 4 pages that used special fonts, color, pictures, and graphics. A third cluster consisted of a single brief PEM.


With CATCH it is possible to categorize and understand the mechanisms that can trigger a change in behavior in health care providers. Additional research is needed to validate CATCH before it can be recommended for use.


Psychometrics/instrument design and testing; clinical practice guidelines; communication design; evidence-based practice; knowledge translation; mixed methods research; self-directed learning; test item construction

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