Knowledge translation strategies to improve the use of evidence in public health decision making in local government: intervention design and implementation plan

Armstrong, R. et al. (2013) Knowledge translation strategies to improve the use of evidence in public health decision making in local government: intervention design and implementation plan. Implementation Science, 8(121), (doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-121)

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Abstract

Background Knowledge translation strategies are an approach to increase the use of evidence within policy and practice decision-making contexts. In clinical and health service contexts, knowledge translation strategies have focused on individual behavior change, however the multi-system context of public health requires a multi-level, multi-strategy approach. This paper describes the design of and implementation plan for a knowledge translation intervention for public health decision making in local government.

Methods Four preliminary research studies contributed findings to the design of the intervention: a systematic review of knowledge translation intervention effectiveness research, a scoping study of knowledge translation perspectives and relevant theory literature, a survey of the local government public health workforce, and a study of the use of evidence-informed decision-making for public health in local government. A logic model was then developed to represent the putative pathways between intervention inputs, processes, and outcomes operating between individual-, organizational-, and system-level strategies. This formed the basis of the intervention plan.

Results The systematic and scoping reviews identified that effective and promising strategies to increase access to research evidence require an integrated intervention of skill development, access to a knowledge broker, resources and tools for evidence-informed decision making, and networking for information sharing. Interviews and survey analysis suggested that the intervention needs to operate at individual and organizational levels, comprising workforce development, access to evidence, and regular contact with a knowledge broker to increase access to intervention evidence; develop skills in appraisal and integration of evidence; strengthen networks; and explore organizational factors to build organizational cultures receptive to embedding evidence in practice. The logic model incorporated these inputs and strategies with a set of outcomes to measure the intervention’s effectiveness based on the theoretical frameworks, evaluation studies, and decision-maker experiences.

Conclusion Documenting the design of and implementation plan for this knowledge translation intervention provides a transparent, theoretical, and practical approach to a complex intervention. It provides significant insights into how practitioners might engage with evidence in public health decision making. While this intervention model was designed for the local government context, it is likely to be applicable and generalizable across sectors and settings.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Moore, Professor Laurence
Authors: Armstrong, R., Waters, E., Dobbins, M., Anderson, L., Moore, L., Petticrew, M., Clark, R., Pettman, T.L., Burns, C., Moodie, M., Conning, R., and Swinburn, B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:Implementation Science
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1748-5908
ISSN (Online):1748-5908
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Implementation Science 8:121
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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