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Open Access Research article

Does journal club membership improve research evidence uptake in different allied health disciplines: a pre-post study

Lucylynn M Lizarondo*, Karen Grimmer-Somers, Saravana Kumar and Alan Crockett

Author affiliations

International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide, 5000, Australia

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Citation and License

BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:588  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-588

Published: 29 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Although allied health is considered to be one 'unit' of healthcare providers, it comprises a range of disciplines which have different training and ways of thinking, and different tasks and methods of patient care. Very few empirical studies on evidence-based practice (EBP) have directly compared allied health professionals. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of a structured model of journal club (JC), known as iCAHE (International Centre for Allied Health Evidence) JC, on the EBP knowledge, skills and behaviour of the different allied health disciplines.

Methods

A pilot, pre-post study design using maximum variation sampling was undertaken. Recruitment was conducted in groups and practitioners such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, social workers, psychologists, nutritionists/dieticians and podiatrists were invited to participate. All participating groups received the iCAHE JC for six months. Quantitative data using the Adapted Fresno Test (McCluskey & Bishop) and Evidence-based Practice Questionnaire (Upton & Upton) were collected prior to the implementation of the JC, with follow-up measurements six months later. Mean percentage change and confidence intervals were calculated to compare baseline and post JC scores for all outcome measures.

Results

The results of this study demonstrate variability in EBP outcomes across disciplines after receiving the iCAHE JC. Only physiotherapists showed statistically significant improvements in all outcomes; speech pathologists and occupational therapists demonstrated a statistically significant increase in knowledge but not for attitude and evidence uptake; social workers and dieticians/nutritionists showed statistically significant positive changes in their knowledge, and evidence uptake but not for attitude.

Conclusions

There is evidence to suggest that a JC such as the iCAHE model is an effective method for improving the EBP knowledge and skills of allied health practitioners. It may be used as a single intervention to facilitate evidence uptake in some allied health disciplines but may need to be integrated with other strategies to influence practice behaviour in other practitioners. An in-depth analysis of other factors (e.g. individual, contextual, organisational), or the relative contribution of these variables is required to better understand the determinants of evidence uptake in allied health.

Keywords:
Journal club; Evidence-based practice; Allied health; Evidence uptake