Background: The process and effectiveness of knowledge translation (KT) interventions targeting policymakers are rarely reported. In Cambodia, a low-income country (LIC), an intervention aiming to provide evidence-based knowledge on pneumonia to health authorities was developed to help update pediatric and adult national clinical guidelines. Through a case study, we assessed the effectiveness of this KT intervention, with the goal of identifying the barriers to KT and suggest strategies to facilitate KT in similar settings.
Methods: An extensive search for all relevant sources of data documenting the processes of updating adult and pediatric pneumonia guidelines was done. Documents included among others, reports, meeting minutes, and email correspondences. The study was conducted in successive phases: an appraisal of the content of both adult and pediatric pneumonia guidelines; an appraisal of the quality of guidelines by independent experts, using the AGREE-II instrument; a description and modeling of the KT process within the guidelines updating system, using the Unified Modeling Language (UML) tools 2.2; and the listing of the barriers and facilitators to KT we identified during the study.
Results: The first appraisal showed that the integration of the KT key messages in pediatric and adult guidelines varied with a better efficiency in the pediatric guidelines. The overall AGREE-II quality assessments scored 37% and 44% for adult and pediatric guidelines, respectively. Scores were lowest for the domains of 'rigor of development' and 'editorial independence.' The UML analysis highlighted that time frames and constraints of the involved stakeholders greatly differed and that there were several missed opportunities to translate on evidence into the adult pneumonia guideline. Seventeen facilitating factors and 18 potential barriers to KT were identified. Main barriers were related to the absence of a clear mandate from the Ministry of Health for the researchers and to a lack of synchronization between knowledge production and policy-making.
Conclusions: Study findings suggest that stakeholders, both researchers and policy makers planning to update clinical guidelines in LIC may need methodological support to overcome the expected barriers.