DEVELOPMENT OF A KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE AND UTILIZATION MODEL FOR EMERGENCY PRACTICE
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Knowledge is a critical element for the provision of quality health care. Optimal clinical decision making incorporates multiple types of knowledge including patient knowledge, clinical experiential knowledge and research knowledge. Understanding how knowledge is shared and used in best practice is challenging as a number of factors can facilitate or impede the process. Several authors have highlighted the value of using a theoretical framework when examining knowledge in health care. A theoretical framework provides direction for the generation and testing of hypotheses which can contribute to building a comprehensive body of knowledge in a field of study. Although the majority of knowledge exchanged in practice settings occurs between clinicians, current knowledge exchange and utilization models in health care generally focus specifically on the exchange of research knowledge between the scientific community and the practice community. Acknowledging and understanding the knowledge seeking and sharing behaviours of clinicians is a key element in the larger knowledge translation puzzle. Emergency medicine is a clinical speciality where there is evidence of a knowledge to practice gap, however, there is limited understanding of the factors that contribute to the gap. Emergency practitioners must make decisions in a busy and often chaotic environment that is prone to multiple interruptions and distractions. The challenge for consistent and quality care is also more pronounced in rural and some suburban areas where emergency care needs are similar but resources are limited. The purpose of this program of research is to identify factors relevant to knowledge exchange and utilization in rural and urban emergency departments with the aim of developing a Model for Knowledge Exchange and Utilization in Emergency Practice. A series of studies were carried out using a mixed method research design to further develop and describe 3 key dimensions (individual, context of practice, knowledge) which were identified through a review of the literature. Data was collected using surveys, participant observations and interviews with nurses and physicians working in rural and urban emergency departments in Nova Scotia. Triangulation of results across the studies contributed to developing a comprehensive and rigorous description of the 3 dimensions of interest.