by Andrea DiMarco, Clinical Knowledge Translation Specialist at Think Research

Knowledge drives any successful organization.

Knowledge translation (KT) is about raising knowledge users’ awareness of research findings and facilitating the use of those findings. Often, however, the most valuable knowledge is intangible and not easily extracted. It lives in the experiences and interactions of its people, not in its servers or code.

Think Research’s Clinical Knowledge Translation Specialists (CKTS) are ensuring that the most recent quality evidence is impacting real- world patient and resident care.

A day in the life of a CKTS at Think Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) provide the most commonly cited formal definition of Knowledge Translation as “a dynamic and iterative process that includes the synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically sound application of knowledge to improve health, provide more effective health services and products and strengthen the health care system”.

Whether referred to as knowledge translation, knowledge transfer, or knowledge exchange, Think Research is focused on providing its clients with tools that have real-world applications.

Our CKTS team stems from a variety of backgrounds, including Nursing, Medicine and Pharmacy. Each CKTS starts by identifying the Order Sets that need updating. This is determined by reviewing the last date that an Order Set was most recently updated, which helps to identify priorities for action. Depending on the acuity of content, updates could be required every 2-3 years.

Next, the network library is reviewed and usage data/ feedback from the user community is gathered. Reviewing literature, clinical resources and studying patient processes will give us the background information needed to develop the first Order Set draft by incorporating modular best practices.

Next steps include a review of the content by pertinent stakeholders followed by an internal review by fellow CKTS’, Pharmacy and the Quality Control Associate. This strict and comprehensive internal review follows a process whereby colleagues are provided the opportunity to contribute feedback independently. Once content consensus is established, the Order Set is considered approved and ready for posting to the network.

The systematic order sets that are created serve as a “sophisticated checklist” for its users/ prescribers.

Lessons learned

Effective communication is paramount.

Working collaboratively with team members and subject-matter experts eases the development and dissemination processes. This also provides an opportunity for self-learning as each contributor affords their own unique perspective.

KT is based on relationships that are sustained through regular dialogue and exchange, both within Think Research and externally with our consultants. Research and scientific evidence is only one piece of the Knowledge Translation pie. Evidence depends on context defined by the user(s).

Final thoughts

Our pragmatic approach to knowledge translation through evidence reviews and subject matter expert consultation serve to reduce the number of errors in prescribing. As I am developing a Clinical Decision Support tool, I try to evoke the words written by Atul Gawande in The Checklist Manifesto: “In medicine, the issue is making sure we apply the knowledge we have consistently and correctly.”