Systematic Reviews

Effective strategies that assist evidence-based decision-making for health care professionals are crucial for ensuring high quality patient care and outcomes. Over the past decade there has been a rapid expansion of available scientific evidence to inform health care interventions with a concomitant endorsement of evidence-based health care by professional governing bodies, health care professional training programs and regional health authorities. Despite these factors, there is a widening gap between research (what we know) and practice (what we do) with the majority of health care professionals not drawing upon the best research evidence to guide clinical practice decisions. Recent studies suggest that 30-40% of patients do not receive care complying with current research evidence and 20-25% of the care provided is not needed or potentially harmful. In response, knowledge (e.g., research) translation strategies have been developed and implemented, yet their impact on health care delivery and patient outcomes has been varied. While previous systematic reviews have explored knowledge translation strategies in relation to various professional groups (i.e., physicians and nurses) and often focusing on one discipline at a time, a systematic review of knowledge translation strategies irrespective of professional group yet specific to the clinical context has not be completed. As effective health care delivery is dependent upon interdisciplinary collaboration, and the science of knowledge translation is well-accepted as being interdisciplinary, a more productive approach would be to systematically review the literature in terms of the unique features of the clinical setting.