BACKGROUND: Complex interventions are widely used in health systems, public health, education, and communities and are increasingly the subject of systematic reviews. Oversimplification and inconsistencies in reporting about complex interventions can limit the usability of review findings.
RATIONALE: Although guidance exists to ensure that reports of individual studies and systematic reviews adhere to accepted scientific standards, their design-specific focus leaves important reporting gaps relative to complex interventions in health care. This paper provides a stand-alone extension to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) reporting tool for complex interventions-PRISMA-CI-to help authors, publishers, and readers understand and apply to systematic reviews of complex interventions.
DISCUSSION: PRISMA-CI development followed the Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research Network guidance for extensions and focused on adding or modifying only essential items that are truly unique to complex interventions and are not covered by broader interpretation of current PRISMA guidance. PRISMA-CI provides an important structure and guidance for systematic reviews and meta-analyses for the highly prevalent and dynamic field of complex interventions.