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The Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) defines knowledge translation as:

“Knowledge translation is the exchange, synthesis and ethically-sound application of knowledge – within a complex system of interactions among researchers and users – to accelerate the capture of the benefits of research for Canadians through improved health, more effective services and products, and a strengthened health care system”

More simply put it is the methods for closing gaps from knowledge to practice. It covers everything from knowledge creation, to knowledge application and dissemination and all the steps in between. It involves all stake holders, especially the end-users, at the various levels. It is moving beyond the production of guidelines and research papers and finding ways to actually use and implement the knowledge gained. Knowledge translation takes into consideration the various stakeholders (e.g. physicians, patients and health care providers) involved, the economic and physical infrastructures available (e.g. the funds required to implement new systems or the equipment available to do so) and the type of knowledge being translated (e.g. new guidelines, conferences and or policy) (Straus et al. ,2009).

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The knowledge-to-Action cycle forms the framework for all CANN-NET knowledge translation strategies. The knowledge creation phase consists of three phases, knowledge inquiry, knowledge synthesis and knowledge tools and or product creation. Through these phases knowledge becomes filtered and more refined, making it more useful for end-users (Straus et al. ,2009).   There are 7 action phases which can occur sequentially or simultaneously and each phase can influence the others at any time during the cycle (Straus et al., 2009).   The action phase of the cycle focuses on engineering change in the health care systems or groups and include identifying the problem; identifying, reviewing and selecting the knowledge to implement; adapting or customizing knowledge to local context; assessing knowledge use determinants; selecting, tailoring, implementing and monitoring the knowledge translation interventions; evaluating outcomes or the impact of the knowledge in place; and finally, determining strategies for ensuring sustained knowledge use (Straus et al., 2009).    



Knowledge User

Idenfity problems,identify key clinical practice guidelines and help to tailor any knowledge translation tools

Ad-Hoc Working Group

Adapt knowledge to local context aiding with knowledge synthesis and recommendations for care

Knowledge Translation

Assess current care, assess barriers to knowledge use, select tailor and implement interventions and monitor knowledge use

Knowledge Methodology and Data Subcommittee

Identify the knowledge gap and reassess care and patient outcomes