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Keywords:

  • continuing education;
  • evidence-based practice;
  • physical therapy;
  • stroke;
  • technology

Abstract

Rationale, aims and objectives  Understanding how to structure educational interventions and resources to facilitate physical therapists' application of the research literature is required. The objective of this study was to explore physical therapists' preferences for strategies to facilitate their access to, evaluation and implementation of the stroke research literature in clinical practice.

Methods  In-depth, qualitative telephone interviews were conducted with 23 physical therapists who treat people with stroke in Ontario, Canada and who had participated in a previous survey on evidence-based practice. Data were analysed using a constant comparative approach to identify emergent themes.

Results  Participants preferred online access to research summaries or systematic reviews to save time to filter and critique research articles. To enable access in the workplace, an acceptable computer-to-staff ratio, permission to access web sites and protected work time were suggested. Participants considered personal digital assistants as excellent tools for quick access to online resources but were unsure of their advantage over a desktop computer. Therapists favoured use of non-technical language, glossaries of research terms and quality ratings of studies to ease understanding and appraisal. Teleconferencing or videoconferencing overcame geographical but not scheduling barriers to accessing education. To achieve behaviour change in clinical practice, therapists preferred multiple interactive, face-to-face education sessions in a group format, with opportunities for case-based learning and practice of new skills.

Conclusion  Physical therapists prefer technology-assisted access to resources and education and favour attending multiple interactive, expert-facilitated education sessions incorporating opportunities for case-based learning and practice of new skills to change behaviour related to evidence-based practice.