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Getting Research Findings into Practice. 2nd Ed.
  1. A K Macpherson
  1. CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Canada; alimacpherson{at}yahoo.ca

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    Edited by Andrew Haines and Anna Donald. (Pp 240; £19.95.) London: BMJ Publishing Group, November 2001. ISBN 0-7279-1257-7.

    This book is a response to the ongoing interest in the uptake of research findings. The editors have covered a broad spectrum of the issues related to translating research findings into clinical practice. The list of authors and contributors from around the world is both comprehensive and impressive.

    The book starts out with basic information chapters that cover such topics as establishing criteria for the implementation of research evidence, sources of information on clinical effectiveness, and dissemination methods. Included in the information chapters is an overview of systematic reviews related to the implementation of research findings by healthcare personnel. For example, the authors provide summaries of the results of 41 systematic reviews, including almost 1500 studies.

    Subsequent chapters related to implementing research findings into practice give several examples from clinical practice (mainly from obstetrics), and discuss the challenges of implementation, how to use research results in the translation into practice, and an overview of the barriers and bridges to evidence based clinical practice. One chapter addresses the unique challenges of implementing research findings in developing countries.

    There are some practical guidelines and tools. The two chapters on decision support and decision analysis, for example, provide both theoretical and practical information about how to conduct and apply decision analysis. The concept of opportunity costs and new options for encouraging implementation of results from economic evaluations are also addressed.

    The chapter on evidence based policy making is the one most likely to be relevant to injury prevention researchers. It is also the only chapter to mention injury prevention strategies. The authors mention legislation as one policy that may arise from strong evidence. The author of this chapter, however, does not appear to support legislation as an element of policy. “Typically, therefore, legislation requires much stronger evidence before it can be introduced, particularly when paternalistic legislation designed to protect one group may harm others”. Citing the introduction of seatbelt legislation as one example of legislation, the author of this chapter points out that seatbelt legislation was not enacted until the evidence for the effectiveness of seatbelts was strong. No further mention of injury prevention initiatives ensues, in fact much of the rest of the policy chapter focuses on screening programs as policies.

    While well written and essential reading for those in clinical practice, the book is of limited use to most injury prevention researchers. The examples are primarily related to how to get clinicians (mostly doctors) to change their practice to reflect current evidence. Although some of the tools and concepts (such as decision analysis) are broadly applicable, those who are searching for the best way to translate injury prevention research into evidence based practice will be disappointed. For multifaceted problems such as those typically encountered in injury prevention, both the evidence and the translation into practice are notably absent here.

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