Continuing education, guideline implementation, and the emerging transdisciplinary field of knowledge translation

J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2006 Winter;26(1):5-12. doi: 10.1002/chp.46.


This article discusses continuing education and the implementation of clinical practice guidelines or best evidence, quality improvement, and patient safety. Continuing education focuses on the perspective of the adult learner and is guided by well-established educational principles. In contrast, guideline implementation and related concepts borrow from the fields of quality improvement and patient safety and from health services research. Relative to the question of improved clinical outcomes, both to some extent afford only partial understanding of a complex issue. Knowledge translation (KT) is a transformative concept that links the best elements of both broad fields and, in particular, adds educational elements to the work of health services researchers and others. Interdisciplinary in the extreme, KT is explored in some detail: its major elements (information, facilitation, context, the clinician-learner, among others) considered as variables in an equation leading to knowledge uptake and improved health care outcomes and an improved functioning health care system.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care
  • United States