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The SYSTEM initiative
University of the Witwatersrand
Systematic Review initiative for Evidence-based Minimum Intervention in Dentistry
Page last updated 20.08.13 / 08:12 by SM
MI definition and scope

Minimum Intervention (MI) is a philosophy of health care consisting of:

    Disease risk assessment
    Earliest disease detection
    Minimally-invasive treatment

MI is valid for any type of oral disease and incorporates aspects of prevention and appropriate technologies. MI is patient centred and through its minimally-invasive focus, more patient-friendly than conventional oral health care. In addition, MI focuses on disease causes and not on its mere symptoms.

Despite these benefits MI faces, like any innovative concept, the process of diffusion. During diffusion of innovation, responses by potential adopters can vary between adoption, non-adoption or rejection. Responses are governed by insecurity concerning uncertainties about the advantages of new ideas as compared to those of current ones. Doubts regarding claims of superiority are justified if these are based on studies containing high degrees of bias. Bias has been defined as any process at any stage of inference tending to produce results that differ systematically from true values.


The problem of bias in studies concerning MI related topics is best addressed through the use of systematic reviews. Systematic reviews in healthcare, have been described as providing objective overviews of all the evidence currently available on a particular topic of interest. Such overviews cover clinical trials in order to establish where effects of healthcare are consistent and where they may vary. This is achieved through the use of explicit, systematic methods aimed at limiting bias and reducing the chance of effect. Systematic reviews have been recommended as providing the best source of evidence to guide clinical decisions and healthcare policy, and they receive twice as many citations as non-systematic reviews in peer-reviewed journals. Furthermore, systematic reviews are increasingly utilized in appraising the evidence regarding the cost-effectiveness of interventions, the costs of guideline dissemination and implementation or evidence from qualitative studies.

For these reasons SYSTEM has adopted the use of systematic reviews in order to achieve its stated aim.