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Team-based research appraisal activities among allied health in rural and regional health services
  • Olivia King,
  • Rosalie Boyce
Olivia King
University Hospital Geelong
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Rosalie Boyce
University Hospital Geelong
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Abstract

Rational and aim Health services are expected to provide evidence-informed care and services. Journal clubs have been the mainstay of evidence appraisal activities for many clinical teams however the translation of findings to changes in clinical practice are less certain. The current study examines the operationalization of evidence appraisal activities by allied health teams in a regional and rural area and their connection to practice change. Method A cross-sectional online survey of allied health managers and team leaders across three health services in a regional and rural area in Victoria, Australia. Participants were asked to describe the evidence appraisal activities undertaken within their teams with respect to operational factors such as the approach, forum, frequency and platform. Participants were also asked about their perceptions of the capacity within teams to undertake evidence appraisal, impact of the activities and the importance of different stakeholder groups in the clinical practice change process. Results Sixteen allied health managers or team leaders responded to the survey. Almost all teams engaged in some form of regular evidence appraisal activity, either within a unidisciplinary or multidisciplinary format. Features of the activities varied however participants commonly reported the perceived impact of such activities on clinical practice was moderate or low. Participants considered themselves, as managers and their clinicians key to identifying the need for, and leading changes to clinical practice. Conclusion Allied health teams regularly engage in evidence-appraisal activities in regional and rural health services. While impact of these activities on clinical practice remains unclear, the findings of this survey study suggest the impact is moderate at best. A region-wide approach to team-based evidence appraisal activities underpinned by research translation framework(s) may improve the impact of these activities on clinical practice.