Knowledge translation and interprofessional collaboration: Where the rubber of evidence-based care hits the road of teamwork


  • Merrick Zwarenstein MBBCh, MSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. Knowledge Translation Centre at St. Michael's Hospital and Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
    • University of Toronto Knowledge Translation Centre at St. Michael's Hospital, Suite 300, 500 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1V7, Canada
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  • Scott Reeves PhD

    1. Centre for Faculty Development at St. Michael's Hospital, Wilson Centre for Research in Education, and Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
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Knowledge-translation interventions and interprofessional education and collaboration interventions all aim at improving health care processes and outcomes. Knowledge-translation interventions attempt to increase evidence-based practice by a single professional group and thus may fail to take into account barriers from difficulties in interprofessional relations. Interprofessional education and collaboration interventions aim to improve interprofessional relations, which may in turn facilitate the work of knowledge translation and thus evidence-based practice. We summarize systematic review work on the effects of interventions for interprofessional education and collaboration. The current evidence base contains mainly descriptive studies of these interventions. Knowledge is limited regarding the impact on care and outcomes and the extent to which the interventions increase the practice of evidence-based care. Rigorous multimethod research studies are needed to develop and strengthen the current evidence base in this field.We describe a Health Canada-funded randomized trial in which quantitative and qualitative data will be gathered in 20 general internal medicine units located at 5 Toronto, Ontario, teaching hospitals. The project examines the impact of interprofessional education and collaboration interventions on interprofessional relationships, health care processes (including evidence-based practice), and patient outcomes. Routes are suggested by which interprofessional education and collaboration interventions might affect knowledge translation and evidence-based practice.