Methods of disseminating and translating research findings to health care professionals and other stakeholders
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There are many barriers to the uptake of research findings including information overload, a lack of health literacy skills, a lack of access to research resources. Knowledge translation and dissemination and implementation research attempt to addresses the gap between evidence and decision-making, policy-making or practice. Derivative summarisation products and multi-component programmes can be used as tools in the knowledge translation process. My objectives were to: • assess studies of the effects of ‘Summary of findings’ (SoF) tables for communicating key findings of systematic reviews; • plan, design and implement an evidence-informed, theory-driven initiative for health care professionals, called Evidence Rounds, which disseminates evidence, and promotes implementation and evidence-informed practice; • describe the processes, mechanisms and contextual factors involved in the implementation of Evidence Rounds; • report follow up data regarding the impact of Evidence Rounds on clinical practice and local guidance; and • explore the perspectives of the key stakeholder group (HCPs) who attended or participated in Evidence Rounds, and identify their preferences to inform the development of future initiatives. Paper one is a Cochrane systematic review assessing studies of the effects of ‘Summary of findings’ tables on communicating key findings of systematic reviews of healthcare interventions to any potential user e.g. patients and their families or carers, health care professionals, policy makers, health systems managers, systematic review authors or other stakeholders. This is followed by a two-part series presenting the original research findings from the Evidence Rounds study conducted in collaboration with staff at University Hospital Galway. Paper two describes the complex process of planning, designing and implementing Evidence Rounds. I identify core components and adaptations undertaken throughout the duration of implementation. I report attendance figures at group sessions and web analytics from the dedicated website as well as follow up data regarding implementation of evidence. Collaboration was a key feature of the initiative and this paper is co-authored by five HCPs who were members of the implementation team. I used the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist to describe the initiative. I detail the implementation process by applying Lavis’s (2003) organising framework for knowledge transfer. In Paper three, I report the findings of focus groups and interviews with HCPs who attended or presented at Evidence Rounds. I ask them to identify barriers and facilitators to attending and presenting at the initiative, the usefulness of modes of delivery used in our implementation strategy, and how the initiative could be improved and made more sustainable. I employed the framework approach by Ritchie and Spencer (1994) to analyse the data. This PhD research indicates that single and multi-component knowledge translation innovations have potential to improve evidence use and uptake by clinicians and other stakeholders as methods and tools to summarise and synthesise findings. This thesis contributes to the field of knowledge translation by presenting the first systematic review assessing studies of the effectiveness of ‘Summary of findings’ tables. Paper 2 introduces and describes the implementation process of a novel and complex initiative that led to changes in clinical guidance and practice. The findings reported in Paper 3 contribute to the understanding of individual and organisational-level contextual factors relating to multicomponent knowledge translation strategies experienced by health care professionals. This thesis strengthens the need for future research to further explore both approaches, particularly around the issues of design, development and tailoring to target audiences, to increase the likelihood of adoption and evidence use.