Objective When appraising the quality of randomised clinical trial (RCTs) on the merits of exercise therapy, we typically limit our assessment to the quality of the methods. However, heterogeneity across studies can also be caused by differences in the quality of the exercise interventions (ie, € the potential effectiveness of a specific intervention given the potential target group of patients') -a challenging concept to assess. We propose an internationally developed, consensus-based tool that aims to assess the quality of exercise therapy programmes studied in RCTs: the international Consensus on Therapeutic Exercise aNd Training (i-CONTENT) tool. Methods Forty-nine experts (from 12 different countries) in the field of physical and exercise therapy participated in a four-stage Delphi approach to develop the i-CONTENT tool: (1) item generation (Delphi round 1), (2) item selection (Delphi rounds 2 and 3), (3) item specification (focus group discussion) and (4) tool development and refinement (working group discussion and piloting). Results Out of the 61 items generated in the first Delphi round, consensus was reached on 17 items, resulting in seven final items that form the i-CONTENT tool: (1) patient selection; (2) qualified supervisor; (3) type and timing of outcome assessment; (4) dosage parameters (frequency, intensity, time); (5) type of exercise; (6) safety of the exercise programme and (7) adherence to the exercise programme. Conclusion The i-CONTENT-tool is a step towards transparent assessment of the quality of exercise therapy programmes studied in RCTs, and ultimately, towards the development of future, higher quality, exercise interventions.
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