Knowledge translation (KT) in health sciences is an interdisciplinary field that examines how research and other types of knowledge are, or can be, better synthesized, communicated and used. The KT activities below are grouped in just one of the many possible ways in which KT activities can be categorized.
The activities in the section, Facilitating Access to Research Evidence, focus on making it easier for patients, clinicians, policymakers and others to find research evidence when they need it.
Supporting Research Use consists of a broader mix of initiatives of which facilitating access to research evidence is only a part. These multifaceted initiatives can range from promoting a climate and way of thinking that supports research use (as with the evidence-based medicine movement) to specific interventions designed to actively encourage the use of particular research findings (for example, the KTCC-L4 project and colorectal cancer sugery).
The third category, Providing Educational Initiatives, is concerned with developing knowledge and skills related to KT. These activities are those that aim in some way to educate people about KT itself, its principles, and its applications.
Facilitating Access to Research Evidence
- Hedges Project: The Hedges Project set out to find optimal search strategies for large, general topic biomedical databases such as MEDLINE and EMBASE. The improved search strategies allow physisians to find clinical information more quickly and efficiently.
- McMaster PLUS: The Premium Literature Service at McMaster University decreases the noise-to-signal ratio in articles from cinical journals. The service sends registered physicians e-mail updates with links to articles most newsworthy and relevant to their disicipline. PLUS increases the uptake of new research by physicians.
- Health-Evidence.ca: This website contains a registry of systematic reviews relevant to public health topics. The reviews are keyworded and rated for methodological quality. Summary statements give two page outlines of the key evidence and conclusions, optimally packaged to aid decision making.
Supporting Research Use
- Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM): EBM is a way of practicing medicine that emphasises using the best available evidence to inform clinical decisions. EBM encourages and optimizes the judicious and prudent use of evidence by physicians, leading to better informed clinical decisions.
- Provider & Patient Reminders: Multi-strategy Prevention Tools (P-PROMPT): This software system is designed to enhance rates of preventive screening tests among women. The system tracks patient information from a physician's roster, compares this with the available research evidence regarding screeening and automatically mails a reminder letter to patients.
- National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT): Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and hosted at McMaster Univesity, the NCCMT collects and packages public health research and tools that support the use of research evidence by public health practictioners.
- Knowledge Translation in Colon and Rectal Cancer in LHIN4 (KTCC-L4): This project aims to use KT interventions to improve specific quality markers in colorectal and rectal surgeries, to enhance patient care and to prevent adverse outcomes.
- Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet): EVIPNet is sponsored by the World Health Organization and is designed to promote the use of research evidence in health policymaking. McMaster researchers are involved in the design, monitoring and evaluation of EVIPNet in Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Providing Educational Opportunities
- Evidence-Based Clinical Practice (EBCP) Workshop: The EBCP Workshop is a week-long course, primarily for physicians, that focuses on the principles of critical appraisal and how to teach EBCP.
- Evidence-Based Nursing Practice (EBNP) Workshop: The EBNP Workshop is a week-long course, primarily for nurses, that focuses on the principles of critical appraisal and how to teach EBN.
- Knowledge Exchange and Transfer (KET) in Rehabilitation Course: The School of Rehabilitation Science offers this course in knowledge exchange and translation that provides students with a chance to learn and become familiar with the theoretical approaches that underlie KT and to understand the challenges that can be encountered in KT research.
- Master's of Science, e-Health: This new Master's program in e-Health combines the disciplines of engineering, business and health sciences to train students in the effective development, management, and implementation of technology in delivering health services.