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Open Access Research article

Survey of knowledge and perception on the access to evidence-based practice and clinical practice change among maternal and infant health practitioners in South East Asia

Ruth Martis1*, Jacqueline J Ho2, Caroline A Crowther1 and The SEA-ORCHID Study Group

Author Affiliations

1 Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide, Women's and Children's Hospital, King William Road, North Adelaide, South Australia, SA 5006, Australia

2 Department of Paediatrics, Penang Medical College, Penang 10450, Malaysia

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, 8:34  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-8-34

Published: 5 August 2008

Abstract

Background

Evidence-based practice (EBP) can provide appropriate care for women and their babies; however implementation of EBP requires health professionals to have access to knowledge, the ability to interpret health care information and then strategies to apply care. The aim of this survey was to assess current knowledge of evidence-based practice, information seeking practices, perceptions and potential enablers and barriers to clinical practice change among maternal and infant health practitioners in South East Asia.

Methods

Questionnaires about IT access for health information and evidence-based practice were administered during August to December 2005 to health care professionals working at the nine hospitals participating in the South East Asia Optimising Reproductive and Child Health in Developing countries (SEA-ORCHID) project in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and The Philippines.

Results

The survey was completed by 660 staff from six health professional groups. Overall, easy IT access for health care information was available to 46% of participants. However, over a fifth reported no IT access was available and over half of nurses and midwives never used IT health information. Evidence-based practice had been heard of by 58% but the majority did not understand the concept. The most frequent sites accessed were Google and PubMed. The Cochrane Library had been heard of by 47% of whom 51% had access although the majority did not use it or used it less than monthly. Only 27% had heard of the WHO Reproductive Health Library and 35% had been involved in a clinical practice change and were able to identify enablers and barriers to change. Only a third of participants had been actively involved in practice change with wide variation between the countries. Willingness to participate in professional development workshops on evidence-based practice was high.

Conclusion

This survey has identified the need to improve IT access to health care information and health professionals' knowledge of evidence-based health care to assist in employing evidence base practice effectively.