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Evidence-based decision-making within the context of globalization: A “Why–What–How” for leaders and managers of health care organizations

Authors Véronique Lapaige

Published 18 March 2009 Volume 2009:2 Pages 35—46


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Véronique Lapaige

Canadian Health Services Research Foundation Fellow; PRO-ACTIVE Research Program (Participatory and Evaluative Research Program to Optimize Workplace Management: Application of Knowledge, Transfer of Expertise, Innovative Interventions, Training Transformational Leaders) Pavillon Ferdinand-Vandry, CIFSS (Centre intégré de formation en sciences de la santé), Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec Canada

Abstract: In the globalized knowledge economy, the challenge of translating knowledge into policy and practice is universal. At the dawn of the 21st century, the clinicians, leaders, and managers of health care organizations are increasingly required to bridge the research-practice gap. A shift from moving evidence to solving problems is due. However, despite a vast literature on the burgeoning field of knowledge translation research, the “evidence-based” issue remains for many health care professionals a day-to-day debate leading to unresolved questions. On one hand, many clinicians still resist to the implementation of evidence-based clinical practice, asking themselves why their current practice should be changed or expanded. On the other hand, many leaders and managers of health care organizations are searching how to keep pace with the demand of actionable knowledge. For example, they are wondering: (a) if managerial and policy innovations are subjected to the same evidentiary standards as clinical innovations, and (b) how they can adapt the scope of evidence-based medicine to the culture, context, and content of health policy and management. This paper focuses on evidence-based health care management within the context of contemporary globalization. In this paper, our heuristic hypothesis is that decision-making process related changes within clinical/managerial/policy environments must be given a socio-historical backdrop. We argue that the relationship between research on the transfer of knowledge and its uptake by clinical, managerial and policy target audiences has undergone a shift, resulting in increasing pressures in health care for intense researcher-practitioner collaboration and the development of “integrative KT platforms” at the crossroads of different fields (the field of knowledge management and the field of knowledge translation). The objectives of this paper are: (a) to provide an answer to the questions that health professionals ask most frequently about “Why” and “How” to bridge the know-do gap, (b) to illustrate by a Canadian example how the PRO-ACTIVE program helps in closing the evidence-based practice gap.

Keywords: globalization, knowledge, know-do gap, research-practice gap, knowledge translation, knowledge sharing, evidence-based decision-making, evidence-based medicine, evidencebased health care management

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