The KT Challenge program supports health care professionals to effectively implement evidence-based practices. Unlike other knowledge translation (KT) programs, this program is grounded in capacity building, focuses on health care professionals (HCPs), and uses a multi-component intervention. This study presents the evaluation of the KT Challenge program to assess the impact on uptake, KT capacity and practice change.
The evaluation used a mixed-methods, time-series design involving surveys and review of documents such as teams’ final reports. Online surveys collecting both quantitative and qualitative data were deployed at four time points (after both workshops, six months into implementation, and at the end of the two-year funded projects) to measure KT capacity ( knowledge, skills and confidence), and impact on practice change. Qualitative data was analyzed using a general inductive approach and quantitative data was analysed using non-parametric statistics.
Participants reported statistically significant increases in knowledge and confidence across both workshops, at the 6-month mark of their projects, and at the end of their projects. In addition, at the 6-month check-in, practitioners reported statistically significant improvements in their ability to implement practice changes. In the first cohort of the program, of the teams who were able to complete their projects, half were able to show demonstrable practice changes.
The KT Challenge was successful in improving the capacity of HCPs to implement evidence-based practice changes and has begun to show demonstrable improvements in a number of practice areas. The program is relevant to a variety of HCPs working in diverse practice settings and is relatively inexpensive to implement. Like all practice improvement programs in health care settings, a number of challenges emerged stemming from the high turnover of staff and the limited capacity of some practitioners to take on anything beyond direct patient care. Efforts to address these challenges have been added to subsequent cohorts of the KT Challenge program and ongoing evaluation will examine if they are successful. The KT Challenge program has continued to garner great interest among practitioners, even in the midst of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and shows promise for organizations looking for better ways to mobilize knowledge to improve patient care and empower staff. This study contributes to the implementation science literature by providing a description and evaluation of a new model for embedding KT practice skills in health care settings.