Health care systems around the world are failing to use evidence obtained through research when making decisions, causing inefficiencies and reduced quantity and quality of life, according to a leading expert in the field of “knowledge translation.”
The project which involves colleagues from nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medicine and pharmacy amongst others uses simple, evidence-based approaches in everyday care to help lower delirium and ensure patients are receiving best possible treatment. Research shows that keeping patients oriented can reduce delirium, so clocks have been installed in every patient’s room along with whiteboards, on which the date is written daily. Lights on the orthopedic unit and overhead paging systems are turned off at night to minimize confusion over time of day, and blinds are opened daily so patients have natural light rhythms.
Dr. Straus said there are many barriers to putting evidence into practice, including cost, education, scarce health care resources and the sheer volume of research evidence being produced.
She noted that not all knowledge should be translated into action right away. It’s important there first be a "mature and valid evidence base," she said, noting the vigorous debate over the "liberation procedure" for patients with multiple sclerosis. Even Paolo Zamboni, the Italian doctor who postulated that MS can be treated by opening up the blood vessels to the brain has warned patients against receiving the treatment until further clinical trials have been conducted.
"The realities of health care systems are that we have insufficient resources to do everything and thus we must work with stakeholders including patients, public, clinicians and policy makers to establish an explicit prioritization process for knowledge translation activities," Dr. Straus said.
Source: St. Michael’s Hospital