Background: Cochrane defines knowledge translation (KT) as the process of supporting the use of evidence from Cochrane Reviews by those who need it to make health decisions. A key step when developing KT strategies is the identification of the characteristics, needs and barriers to knowledge use of the final users. To address these aspects, Cochrane Insurance Medicine (CIM) developed a KT strategic plan supported by the results from a survey on evidence needs of insurance medicine (IM) professionals.
Objectives: to explore evidence needs and priorities in IM and to develop and implement a KT strategic plan.
Methods: in 2016, CIM conducted an online survey, exploring five domains: characteristics of respondents, areas of work, evidence and training needs, search and use of evidence, and awareness of Cochrane. We used a convenience sample from eight European IM institutions and two international associations (n = 782). We used the findings to develop CIM’s strategic plan 2018 to 2023 around four KT pillars: building demand/advocacy, network building, KT outputs and stakeholders engagement.
Results: the median response rate was 29%. Most respondents worked in Europe (97%). We identified important gaps in IM evidence. Priority areas for evidence syntheses were mental and musculoskeletal disorders and occupational health, applied to work capacity assessment, prognosis on return to work and verification of subjective conditions. The preferred types of evidence were guidelines and systematic reviews (SRs). Barriers for using Cochrane evidence were the lack of awareness of Cochrane and its mission, participants not finding what they were looking for in the Cochrane Library and training needs in using evidence. In contrast to our expectations, most findings were consistent across countries and associations. Based on the results, we defined and started to implement eight KT strategies related to the KT pillars. Key achievements in 2018 were the creation of the topic Insurance Medicine in the Cochrane Library to facilitate the search and use of SRs, an increase of 429 visits (45%) to CIM’s website and conducting four training activities on the use of evidence in three European countries. Factors to consider when conducting similar surveys are the recruitment strategy, logistic implications, resources required, cost, translation of the survey and results into different languages and strategies to increase participation.
Conclusions: a survey can be a suitable tool for identifying evidence needs and priorities of users and for designing and implementing KT strategies. IM evidence needs seem to be similar across European countries. However, identifying priority research questions requires further refinements. Current CIM's KT goals focus on advocacy for the production of SRs, promotion of CIM, training of evidence users and facilitating the access to evidence.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: patients or health consumers were not involved.