Creating clinically relevant knowledge from systematic reviews: the challenges of knowledge translation

J Eval Clin Pract. 2007 Aug;13(4):681-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2007.00830.x.


Rationale and objective: A research translation strategy for chronic pain was developed that has significant potential to advance the usefulness of systematic reviews (SRs) in clinical practice.

Method: The strategy used interactive case-based workshops that summarize current evidence on treatments for chronic non-cancer pain. Health technology assessment researchers and clinicians collaborated to translate SR evidence into education aids, but this proved far from straightforward.

Results: Sourcing and selecting the SR evidence required maintaining a credible balance between the diametrical concepts of comprehensiveness and efficiency, and relevance and validity. On examination of the collated evidence base, further challenges were encountered in dealing with the lack of consistency among the SRs in the quality of execution, the scales used to rate the quality of the evidence, and the conclusions on common topic areas. Strategies for overcoming these difficulties are discussed.

Conclusions: The key elements for creating clinically relevant knowledge from SRs are: a flexible, consistent and transparent methodology; credible research; involvement of renowned content experts to translate the evidence into clinically meaningful guidance; and an open, trusting relationship among all contributors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Pain Management*
  • Review Literature as Topic*