Training programmes to improve evidence uptake and utilisation by physiotherapists : a systematic scoping review

Stander, Jessica ; Grimmer, Karen ; Brink, Yolandi (2018-01-15)

CITATION: Stander, J., Grimmer, K. & Brink, Y. 2018. Training programmes to improve evidence uptake and utilisation by physiotherapists : a systematic scoping review. BMC Medical Education, 18:14, doi:10.1186/s12909-018-1121-6.

The original publication is available at

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


Background: Research training programmes are a knowledge translation (KT) intervention which aim to improve research evidence uptake by clinicians. Whilst KT training programmes have been reported to significantly improve evidence uptake by physiotherapists, it is unclear which aspects of training optimally assist KT into physiotherapy practice. The purpose of the review was to establish the body of evidence regarding KT training programmes to improve physiotherapists’ use of evidence-based practice (EBP) and clinical practice guidelines (CPG). Methods: A systematic scoping review was undertaken in line with the adapted Arksey and O’Malley framework. Nine electronic databases (CINAHL, BIOMED CENTRAL, Cochrane, Web of Science, PROQUEST, PUBMED, OTseeker, Scopus, ERIC) were searched. Targeted keywords identified primary research articles of any hierarchy, that described the nature and impact of KT training programmes for physiotherapists. Where systematic reviews were identified, the component primary studies were considered individually for relevance. Critical appraisal was not undertaken due to the nature of a scoping review, and data was reported descriptively. Results: Ten systematic reviews were identified (yielding four relevant primary studies). Five additional primary studies were identified (two randomised controlled trials, two non-randomised controlled trials and one pre-post study) which were not included in the original systematic reviews. This provided nine eligible primary research studies for review. The KT strategies were all multi-faceted. Interactive sessions, didactic sessions, printed material and discussion and feedback were consistently associated with effective outcomes. When KT strategies addressed local barriers to EBP utilisation, there were better success rates for EBP and CPG uptake, irrespective of the outcome measures used. There were no consistent ways of measuring outcome. Conclusion: Multi-faceted KT strategies designed to address local barriers to knowledge translation were most effective in improving EBP/ CPG uptake among physiotherapists.

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