Knowledge translation strategies for dissemination with a focus on healthcare recipients: An overview of systematic reviews

Evelina Chapman, Michelle M. Haby*, Tereza Setsuko Toma, Maritsa Carla De Bortoli, Eduardo Illanes, Maria Jose Oliveros, Jorge O.Maia Barreto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: While there is an ample literature on the evaluation of knowledge translation interventions aimed at healthcare providers, managers, and policy-makers, there has been less focus on patients and their informal caregivers. Further, no overview of the literature on dissemination strategies aimed at healthcare users and their caregivers has been conducted. The overview has two specific research questions: (1) to determine the most effective strategies that have been used to disseminate knowledge to healthcare recipients, and (2) to determine the barriers (and facilitators) to dissemination of knowledge to this group. Methods: This overview used systematic review methods and was conducted according to a pre-defined protocol. A comprehensive search of ten databases and five websites was conducted. Both published and unpublished reviews in English, Spanish, or Portuguese were included. A methodological quality assessment was conducted; low-quality reviews were excluded. A narrative synthesis was undertaken, informed by a matrix of strategy by outcome measure. The Health System Evidence taxonomy for "consumer targeted strategies" was used to separate strategies into one of six categories. Results: We identified 44 systematic reviews that describe the effective strategies to disseminate health knowledge to the public, patients, and caregivers. Some of these reviews also describe the most important barriers to the uptake of these effective strategies. When analyzing those strategies with the greatest potential to achieve behavioral changes, the majority of strategies with sufficient evidence of effectiveness were combined, frequent, and/or intense over time. Further, strategies focused on the patient, with tailored interventions, and those that seek to acquire skills and competencies were more effective in achieving these changes. In relation to barriers and facilitators, while the lack of health literacy or e-literacy could increase inequities, the benefits of social media were also emphasized, for example by widening access to health information for ethnic minorities and lower socioeconomic groups. Conclusions: Those interventions that have been shown to be effective in improving knowledge uptake or health behaviors should be implemented in practice, programs, and policies - if not already implemented. When implementing strategies, decision-makers should consider the barriers and facilitators identified by this overview to ensure maximum effectiveness. Protocol registration: PROSPERO: CRD42018093245.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Caregivers
  • Consumers
  • Knowledge translation
  • Patients
  • Research uptake


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