The effectiveness of interventions designed to increase the uptake of clinical practice guidelines and best practices among musculoskeletal professionals: A systematic review

Fadi M. Al Zoubi, Anita Menon, Nancy E. Mayo, André E. Bussières (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The objective of this systematic review was to summarize and evaluate evidence about the effectiveness of knowledge translation (KT) interventions to improve the uptake and application of clinical practice guidelines and best practices for a wide range of musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders and health care professionals. Methods: A search for relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in English was conducted in MEDLINE (Ovid interface), EMBASE, CINAHL, and CENTRAL (Cochrane library). Two independent reviewers selected studies, assessed risk of bias, and extracted data. All MSK disorders were included except MSK injuries, fractures, trauma, or inflammatory disorders. Results: A total of 7904 citations yielded 11 eligible RCTs. The targeted MSK disorders included: low back pain (n = 5), neck pain (n = 2), whiplash (1), spinal disorders (n = 1), and osteoarthritis of the hip and knee (n = 2). Studies primarily involved physiotherapists, chiropractors, and a mix of physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths. Results were reported using effect sizes (Cohen's d). Interactive educational meetings were the most commonly used KT strategy. For professional outcomes, 3 studies using single-component interventions had a small effect (d ranges from 0.14 to 0.28) and 7 studies used multifaceted interventions (3 were effective (d ranges from 0.824 to 2.27). For patient outcomes, 4 studies were ineffective (d ranges from 0.06 to 0.31). The majority of the included RCTs had moderate-to-high risk of bias. About half of the studies used theory-based interventions, but the elements of the interventions and theoretical frameworks were often poorly described. Furthermore, there were no comparable outcome measures to evaluate the impact of the interventions on a similar scale. Conclusions: The findings suggested that multifaceted educational KT interventions appear to be effective for improving professional outcomes, although effects were inconsistent. The KT strategies were generally not effective on patient outcomes. In general, studies were of low quality, interventions were poorly described, and only half had theoretical underpinning. Researchers are encouraged to use validated professional and patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number435
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Implementation science
  • Knowledge translation
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Musculoskeletal professionals
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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